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Swiss Watch Exports Fall as Virus Hits Asia

Shipments to Hong Kong see worst monthly decline for 20 years.
Mar 22, 2020 11:47 AM   By Rapaport News
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Swiss watch exports fell in February, as the coronavirus pandemic led to the worst monthly decline in Hong Kong in the last 20 years.

Shipments dropped 9% to CHF 1.6 billion ($1.62 billion) for the month overall. Supply to Hong Kong dropped 42% to CHF 142.6 million ($144.6 million) and to China plunged 52%.

Exports to the US, which hadn’t yet been affected by the coronavirus, continued to increase, rising 18% to CHF 205.8 million ($208.7 million). Orders to the United Kingdom, the largest market for Swiss watches in Europe, fell 19% to CHF 102.6 million ($104 million).

“Several markets held firm, however most Asian markets fell, often posting very sharp declines, as the impact of the coronavirus epidemic began to be felt on Swiss watch exports in February,” the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported last week. “However, this does not yet fully reflect the actual situation in certain markets.”

Exports of timepieces in all price segments declined, the federation said, with those priced between CHF 200 ($203) and CHF 500 ($507) showing the heaviest drop, plummeting 53% by value. Shipments of watches worth less than CHF 200, as well as those valued between CHF 500 and CHF 3,000 ($3,042), fell 18%. Exports of products valued above CHF 3,000 slipped 1%.

All watch-material categories recorded drops. Shipments of those made from steel lost the most ground, sliding 32%, while timepieces composed of gold and steel fell 17%. Exports of watches made from precious metals slipped 16%, while those containing other metals went down 27%.

Image: A Piaget window display in Geneva, Switzerland. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Coronavirus, Federation of the Swiss ‎Watch Industry, Rapaport News, Swiss watches
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