In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic weighed heavily on Swiss foreign trade. But in 2021, exports bounced back, rising 15.2% to reach a record high of CHF 260 billion.
The sharp jump in exports in 2021 caused Switzerland’s trade surplus to reach CHF 58.7 billion, despite rising imports, which were pushed up by rising energy prices and chemical imports.
A significant driver behind Switzerland’s higher exports was increased exports of immunological products. These accounted for a quarter of the total increase in Swiss exports. The rise in watch exports was also impressive. Their shipments climbed by a third, or CHF 5.3 billion, to a new annual high. However, all export sectors were higher compared to their depressed levels in 2020.
The Swiss export industry sold more goods in all three major economic areas. Double-digit growth rates were observed in deliveries to Europe (+18.1%) and North America (+17.0%). Shipments to Asia were also up by 9.0%, with a sharp increase in exports to Hong Kong (+23.0%). The rises in exports to China, Japan and Singapore were also significant.
In 2021, the United States replaced Germany as the most important buyer of Swiss products for the first time since 1954.
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