ZURICH, May 27 (Reuters) - Swiss exports rose in April, data showed on Tuesday, supported by an increase in sales of chemicals and jewellery that point to a more favourable outlook for the Swiss economy.
Adjusted for one less working day in April, exports were up a real 5.5 percent, while imports fell 2.6 percent, the Federal Customs Office said.
In the same terms, sales of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, the country’s biggest export category, were up by a nominal 7.9 percent, while sales of jewellery rose a nominal 53.4 percent.
Other economic data has painted a brighter picture for Switzerland’s economy in coming months. The Swiss manufacturing sector gathered steam in April thanks to expanding order backlogs that point to further economic growth ahead.
Switzerland is due to release data on first-quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry noted a slight upturn in watch sales, as exports of timepieces rose by a nominal 6.7 percent in April.
“The best results were achieved by products costing more than 3,000 francs, which posted an increase in the order of 4 percent,” it said in a statement. “The trend remains positive for Swiss watch exports.”
Exports from Switzerland have been supported by a cap the central bank imposed on the country’s strong franc currency in 2011, but have suffered from sluggish demand in Europe.
Without adjusting for the one less working day last month, Swiss exports edged up 0.4 percent in real terms, with a 9.4 percent decline in exports to Germany dragging down Switzerland’s sales to its biggest trade partner, the European Union.
Overall Switzerland ran a merchandise trade surplus of 2.425 billion Swiss francs in April. ($1 = 0.8942 Swiss Francs) (Reporting by Alice Baghdjian)