With new orders up 16.8% on the prior-year period, this represents another significant rise. In the first three months of the year, MEM companies sold goods abroad worth CHF 18.9 billion, representing export growth of 14.1%.
The approx. 290 reporting companies posted further growth of 16.8% in new orders in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the year-back period. Foreign orders rose by 11.8%, while domestic orders soared by 37.8%. The MEM industries are thus able to profit from the healthy state of the domestic economy. Capacity utilization remained high in the first quarter at 92.3%.
Sales in the first quarter of 2007 rose by 17.3%, thus exceeding expectations. Domestic sales (+ 18.5%) advanced to a greater extent than foreign sales (+ 17.0%), which were already at a very high level.
Steady growth in the EU markets
Sector exports performed well in the first three months of the year, lifting 14.1% on the year-back period. Exports to EU countries have increased by 15.6% so far this year. The primary growth drivers are Germany (+ 15.7%), the main export market for Swiss companies, France (+ 17.1%) and Italy (+ 22.6%).
Dynamic markets in Asia
Sales in Asia – the second most important export region for the Swiss MEM industries, accounting for 14.7% of the total – rose by 11.4%. China remains the primary growth market (+ 22.4%), closely followed by India (+ 20.2%) and Singapore (+ 19.8%). Business continued to do well in the US: 1.8% more goods were exported to the USA in the first quarter of this year than in the year-back period. The US accounts for 9.0% of overall market share.
Further growth expected
The business environment and the economic indicators point to 2007 being a year of robust growth. Overall, the positive trend looks set to continue within the industry. How things actually play out will depend mainly on the global economy and the foreign-exchange situation, which currently favours Swiss exports thanks to the high level at which the euro is trading.
For further information please contact:
Jonas Lang, Communication
Phone: +41 (0)44 384 48 33, E-mail: j.langnoSpam@swissmem.ch