5,000 jobs at risk as COVID-19 pandemic hits Swiss watch exports hard

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced exports of Swiss watches to fall by more than 20 percent in March compared to last year, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

The report showed that Swiss watch exports decreased by 21.9 percent to 1.4 billion CHF (1.44 billion U.S. dollars) in March, while a more gloomy outcome is expected for the month of April.

According to the report, some 5,000 jobs could be lost in the industry due to the impact of the pandemic.

However, although most markets declined significantly in March, a few leading markets saw a significant increase, the report said, adding that the export to China this March increased by 10.5 percent, probably in anticipation of the end of the crisis and going hand-in-hand with an increase in domestic consumption.

The watch industry is Switzerland’s third-largest exporter after chemicals and machines. In 2019, Swiss watch exports totaled 21.7 billion CHF.

So far, Switzerland has reported 30,060 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,505 deaths in total.

•Xinhua