Contraction of foreign trade, despite good results in watchmaking

A forklift next to wooden pallets.

(21.02.2024) In 2023, according to the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS), exports declined by 1.2% and imports by 3.8%. However, the trade surplus – the second-largest ever recorded – reached 48.5 billion Swiss francs, compared to 42.8 billion in 2022.

Exports amounted to 274.3 billion Swiss francs for the entire year, with declines in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Total imports, on the other hand, amounted to 225.8 billion Swiss francs and only returned to growth in the final quarter of 2023. In real terms, exports increased by 2.5%, while imports decreased by 2%.

Specifically, metal trade experienced a drop of 9.0%, totaling 1.4 billion Swiss francs. The sectors of "paper and graphic arts products," "precision instruments," and "food, beverages, and tobacco" collectively suffered a decline of 1.2 billion Swiss francs.

On the other hand, watch exports significantly stood out, with an increase of 7.6% (+1.9 billion), reaching a record of 26.7 billion Swiss francs. Chemical and pharmaceutical products slightly increased by 0.7%, but price declines weighed down the real result (-5.3%). Pharmaceutical exports plummeted by 8.5%, while those of "raw and basic materials" increased by half.

Regarding imports, the most notable decrease affected energy products (-40.4% / -9.0 billion Swiss francs). Metal (-14.7%) and machinery and electronics (-3.2%) entries also decreased compared to 2022. However, chemical and pharmaceutical products increased by 6.8% (+4.4 billion), and vehicles by 14.2% (+2.7 billion Swiss francs) over the same period.


Last modification 21.02.2024

Top of page

News and useful information for founders and entrepreneurs.