Slowdown in foreign trade

Cylindrical machines in a warehouse

(15.05.2024) The global economic downturn continues to impact international trade. In the first quarter of 2024, imports decreased by 1.9% and exports dropped by 0.8% compared to the final quarter of 2023, according to the Federal Office of Customs and Border Security (FOCB).

The downward trend that started in the third quarter of 2022 has continued. In the first quarter of 2024, exports declined across 8 out of 11 industrial sectors. Jewelry and goldsmithing exports were down by 3.8%, watchmaking by 3.6%, and precision instruments by 4.1%. These three sectors combined saw exports decline by 677 million francs. Machinery and electronics experienced their fourth consecutive decline (-0.7%), while chemical and pharmaceutical exports remained stagnant. Active ingredients dropped by 3.9 billion francs (-81.1%), while raw and basic materials rose by 1.5 billion (+26.3%).

Export performance varied widely across regions. Demand from Asia was lower (-1.9%) than in the last quarter of 2023, while exports to North America increased (+1.5%), driven by strong demand from the United States (+2.8%).

Half of all merchandise groups saw a decline in imports, mainly in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, where medicine imports fell by 1.3 billion francs. This was a 12.3% drop compared to the previous quarter. Meanwhile, jewelry, goldsmithing, and vehicle imports grew during this period.

From January to March 2024, import trends varied by region. Imports from Europe fell by 2.7%, while those from Asia remained stable. Imports from North America increased by 3.2% (United States: +5.5%).


Last modification 15.05.2024

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