Swiss watch exports were negative for the eighth consecutive month in February, with a value of $1.75 billion (1.7 billion francs) – a decline of 3.3% on the year, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported in a statement. The export figures were significantly influenced by developments in the Hong Kong market. Wristwatches recorded a less pronounced fall in value, down 2.0%, but bimetallic timepieces dragged the figures down, while steel products registered an upturn. In volume terms, the decline was more substantial and, paradoxically, influenced to a large extent by steel watches. Watches with an export price of more than 3,000 francs returned to positive growth in February, both in value and volume terms, while watches costing less recorded a downturn.
"After 12 months of steep decline the trend was unchanged in Hong Kong, which remained well below par for the thirteenth consecutive month. The United States, putting an end to five months of decline, showed renewed signs of growth despite an unfavorable base effect. Japan however benefited from an easier base of comparison and confirmed January’s very good result. This showing contrasted with that of China, where the rate of decline continued to outpace the world average. Overall, Europe registered an upturn of 4%. Italy showed no change compared to February 2015, while Germany recorded a significant improvement," the Federation reported.