News Thursday, November 20th 2008
© Fédération de l'industrie horlogère suisse FH
With doubts surrounding the good September result, figures for the month of October confirmed the slowdown in watch exports which began in May this year. The total value of watch exports leaving Switzerland in October was 1.7 billion francs, the same level as last year (+0.1%). Showing a variation of +12.3%, the moving average over twelve months indicates that the rate is still positive and that 2008 will end on a good result, however growth is clearly at a low ebb and will accentuate its decline at the start of 2009, or even later this year.
Precious metal and plated watches saw their value increase, while steel fell back sharply. In total, 2.6 million units were exported in October, 260,000 fewer than one year earlier. This decline was due mainly to steel timepieces. Most other materials also lost ground, with the exception of plated watches. Overall since January the trend has remained positive (+4.7%).
Only the segment of wristwatches costing more than 3,000 francs (export price) registered growth in October. The value thus generated managed to offset the decline recorded by other categories. Below 3,000 francs, the downturn was more generalised, accentuated by timepieces costing between 500 and 3,000 francs which registered rates of decline in excess of 20%.
Among the main markets, half recorded an increase. Hong Kong maintained its positive momentum, while the United States lost ground sharply. Japan succeeded in halting its decline. In Europe, increases also alternated with declines. Overall, markets showing a stronger performance over recent months maintained their position: China registered a strong upturn (+39.9%), as did Saudi Arabia (+65.3%) and South Korea (+66.6%). Singapore however reversed its trend with -13.0%. ■