World Economy

Swiss Watch Exports Decline

Swiss Watch Exports Decline
Swiss Watch Exports Decline

Swiss watch exports had their biggest quarterly decline since 2009 as the industry struggles with the strong franc and as a slump in demand in China and Hong Kong began to spread across Asia, Bloomberg reported.

The value of shipments fell 7.2% in the third quarter, adjusted for working days, the Swiss customs office said Tuesday in a statement. Exports dropped 2% in the first nine months of the year to 15.8 billion francs ($16.5 billion), according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

The data “casts something of a shadow over prospects for the year,” the trade group said.

Waning demand in Hong Kong and China has spread to other Asian markets such as Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, weighing down an industry that accounts for a 10th of Switzerland’s exports. The nation’s watch executives are the most pessimistic in four years as an increasing minority sees a threat from smartwatches, a Deloitte LLP report showed last month.

Hong Kong and China last year accounted for a quarter of Swiss watch exports. Exports to the US, the second largest market, fell 18% in September, their steepest monthly drop in five years.

Swatch Group AG, the maker of Omega and Tissot timepieces, declined 2.1% to 367.40 francs as of 9:21 a.m. in Zurich. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, fell 1.6% to 79.60 francs.