Switzerland's exports of chemicals rose a tiny 0.4 percent to 12.3 billion Swiss francs ($10.6 billion) in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period in 1994, the Swiss Chemical Industry Association said.
Swiss chemical imports posted a 4.5 percent increase, to 6.5 billion francs, for the half, the association said.Sales to the European Union, which accounts for nearly three-fifths of the Swiss industry's export market, posted a slight decrease of 0.7 percent, to 7.3 billion francs. Sales to Germany continued their downward trend, falling by 3.3 percent to 2 billion francs. Exports to Italy also fell, by 2 percent to 1.1 billion francs, but there was a healthy 7.6 percent increase, to 1.5 billion francs, in sales to France.
In contrast to the poor results in the EU, sales to Eastern Europe expanded by 12.2 percent to 460 million francs, with deliveries to Poland and Slovakia expanding by 22.3 percent and 76.8 percent, respectively.
But sales to the Russian Federation contracted by 19.5 percent, the association said.
Agricultural chemicals showed the strongest export gains, rising by 5.6 percent, followed by pharmaceuticals, up 0.9 percent, and primary chemicals (organic and inorganic) and molded plastics, up by 0.6 percent. Exports of dyes fell by 4.4 percent.
Shipments to North America posted a mixed performance. Sales were down 8.6 percent to the United States, to 947 million francs, but rose 29.2 percent to Canada, the industry group said.
The fall in exports to the United States was largely the result of a 22 percent contraction in pharmaceuticals and a 14.2 percent drop in dyes.
Shipments to Latin America shrank by 5.4 percent, although exports to Brazil went against the regional trend, increasing by 24.6 percent.
The association attributed the strong gains in Canada and Brazil largely to the impressive increases in pharmaceutical shipments.
Pharmaceutical exports to Canada in the first half rose by 80 percent, to 151 million francs, and to Brazil, they were up 44 percent, to 217 million francs.