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Swiss watch exports slow on Hong Kong, US downturn

[ZURICH] Global exports of Swiss watches fell nearly eight per cent in January, the industry body said Thursday, as sales to main markets Hong Kong and the US slowed.

Exports dropped by 7.9 per cent to 1.5 billion Swiss francs (US$1.5 billion), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said.

"An unfavourable environment continues to hold back results in the sector," it said in a statement.

In 2015, watch exports recorded their first full-year decline since 2009, contracting by 3.3 per cent with weakening Hong Kong demand already the main factor.

Hong Kong, which saw its 12th consecutive month of demand downturn in January, and the United States, where Swiss watch sales fell for the fifth straight month, are the two main markets for Switzerland's time piece exports.

Sales to Hong Kong dropped by a steep 33.1 per cent last month, while sales to the US dropped by 13.7 per cent.

Watch exports to mainland China eased by 1.9 per cent in January.

Strength in Japan, up 35.8 per cent, and across European markets was not enough to offset the downturn in the main markets, the federation said.


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