President of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry Jean-Daniel Pasche told Xinhua on Tuesday in an exclusive interview that although the Swiss watch industry is going through tough times, the situation is expected to stabilise itself by the end of the year.
“We should finish 2016 more or less at the same levels as 2015,” he predicted while participating in a round table discussion during Baselworld, the annual watch and jewellery show held between March 17 and 24.
He stressed that he had full confidence in the Chinese market’s ability to boost Swiss watch exports which have been affected by a strong Swiss Franc, drop in demand from China and Russia and the impact of terrorism, notably in France.
Witnessing the first downturn in seven years, Swiss watch exports reached 21.5 billion Swiss francs (21.1 billion U.S. dollars) last year, down 3.3 percent compared to 2014.
Generating 20.2 billion Swiss francs in 2015, watches accounted for close to 95 percent of all Swiss exports with a total of 28.1 million timepieces exported, 460,000 fewer than in 2014.
Half of Swiss watch exports by value reached Asia (down 9.1 percent), while the value of exports to Europe which accounts for one third of sales increased by 6.1 percent compared to two years ago.
The value of Swiss watch exports to China’s Hong Kong fell 22.9 percent last year, with exports to the Chinese mainland and the United States also showing a decrease (down 4.7 percent and 0.8 percent respectively).
“We have confidence in the Chinese market and we expect it to pick up again,” said Pasche. Enditem