Swiss Watch Exports Recover to Pre-Covid Levels on China, U.S.

Swiss watch exports are returning to pre-pandemic levels after their biggest annual slump since the financial crisis, boosted by demand in China and the U.S.

Shipments rose 2% to 1.8 billion francs ($2 billion) in April compared with the same month in 2019, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Exports started to recover in March.

Swiss watch exports fell 22% in 2020 as tourism ground to a halt and lockdowns shuttered stores. The next two months will be decisive in confirming the trend of recovery, the federation said in a statement. So far, the cumulative start to 2021 is identical to the performance two years ago, it added.

Swatch Group AG Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek this month said he expects a “massive increase” in demand if people are able to travel again this summer and as stores open across Europe. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert took a more cautious stance last week, saying volatility and low visibility will likely remain until there is herd immunity against Covid-19.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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