Swiss watch industry exports rose strongly in May, according to figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. They were worth $1.77 (1.7 billion francs), 9.0% more than in May 2016. This was the second positive month after March, confirming the recovery which has been under way since the start of the year. Several important markets posted very strong growth. Hong Kong (+18.1%) and China (+34.4%) led the Asian continent while the situation in Japan (-3.2%) continued to deteriorate. Alternating between highs and lows, the United States (-1.1%) also declined slightly in May, maintaining the negative trend that has affected the country for more than one year. In Europe, the four leading markets, i.e. Italy (+26.7%), the United Kingdom (+12.9%), France (+9.5%) and Germany (+3.7%) all reported growth.
Watches in precious metal boosted growth, as did steel products. Sales of timepieces in most other materials also advanced. Volumes were adversely influenced by the "Other materials" category, which lost just under 100,000 pieces in the space of a month, while the other categories reported growth. Sales of watches priced at less than $209 (200 francs (export price)) remained negative in line with previous months. This fall had a decisive impact on overall volumes exported during the month of May. The other price segments grew significantly, particularly in the price range above $3,100 (3,000 francs).