Exports edged down 0.2 percent to CHF 19.36 billion in April, as a steep decline in sales of chemical and pharmaceutical products (-3.6 percent) was partially offset by increases in exports of machinery and electronics (3.3 percent), watchmaking (2.1 percent), precision instruments (0.7 percent), metals (0.5 percent), and jewelery and bijouterie (13.6 percent).
Among major trade partners, exports dropped to the UK (-0.8 percent), Singapore (-23.5 percent), Canada (-20.3 percent) and Australia (-31.7 percent), but increased to China (0.2 percent), Japan (1.8 percent) and Hong Kong (11.1 percent); the EU (0.1 percent), mainly to Germany (2.9 percent), Italy (8.3 percent) and France (5.8 percent); and the US (4.3 percent).
Imports slumped 3.4 percent to CHF 16.56 billion in April, dragged by lower purchases of: chemical and pharmaceutical products (-16.6 percent); machinery and electronics (-0.2 percent); and vehicles (-17.2 percent). In contrast, imports went up for: jewelery and bijouterie (17.7 percent); metals (1.3 percent); and textiles, clothing, footwear (8.6 percent).
Among major trade partners, imports from the EU went down 4.2 percent, in particular from the UK (-22.6 percent), Germany (-0.3 percent), Italy (-2.7 percent) and France (-6.5 percent). Also, imports from the US declined 28.2 percent, while those from China and Singapore increased 8.4 percent and 46.5 percent respectively.
Considering the first four months of 2018, the trade surplus narrowed sharply to CHF 9.42 billion from CHF 13.15 billion surplus in the same period of 2017.