Switzerland ranks as the 18th largest export economy in the world, with annual exports of 310 billion dollars and a positive trade balance of 16.9 billion dollars after deducting yearly imports of 294 billion dollars. The GDP of Switzerland was last calculated at 705 billion dollars. That equates to a GDP per capita of 82,797 dollars. Switzerland has always been a country that has supported a position of international neutrality. This has helped it achieve a stable economy, with low unemployment and a GDP per capita that is among the highest in the world.
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Details on Switzerland’s Exports and Imports:
Gold: Switzerland is the world’s leading exporter of gold, enjoying a 20.9 percent share of an annual export market worth 305 billion dollars. Its nearest rivals are the United Kingdom with 8.46 percent and the United States with 5.95 percent. Although Switzerland is the biggest exporter of gold, it is ranked 7th globally in terms of the number of gold reserves it holds. According to World Gold Council figures, Switzerland has 1,040 tonnes, compared to the United States who are top ranked with 8,133 tonnes. Diamonds Switzerland is the 11th largest exporter of diamonds, with a 1.63 percent share of an annual export market valued at 116 billion dollars. Most of its diamonds are destined for the United States valued at 20.8 percent and France with 19.5 percent.
Coffee: Switzerland is the world’s 5th and Europe’s 2nd largest exporter of coffee with a 7.16 percent share of an annual export market worth 30.9 billion dollars. Higher coffee bean prices charged by Swiss exporters and specializing in selling small quantities in specific formats, such as pods manufactured in Swiss factories, mean that the average price paid for roasted coffee exported out of Switzerland is often about 3.5 times the international average.
Electricity: Switzerland is the fifth largest exporter of electricity and has a 7.86 percent share of an annual export market valued at 12.1 billion dollars. Neighboring Italy receives 100 percent of Switzerland’s electricity exports.
Platinum: The global platinum export market is worth 32 billion dollars per year and Switzerland is the 8th largest exporter with a 3.54 percent market share. Hong Kong with 17.9 percent is the biggest recipient of Swiss platinum.
Interesting Facts About Switzerland: Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world but enjoys one of the lowest crime rates of all industrialized countries. Teaching is one of the highest paid occupations in Switzerland, with an average salary of around 68,000 dollars. After Japan, Swiss people have the second longest life expectancy rate in the world.
Switzerland’s Top 10 Exports
Exports from Switzerland totaled 319 billion dollars in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 5.3 percent increase since 2016 and a 1.5 percent uptick from 2019 to 2020.
Based on average exchange rates for 2020, the Swiss franc appreciated by 4.7 percent against the US dollar since 2016 and increased by 5.5 percent from 2019 to 2020. Switzerland’s stronger local currency makes the Swiss Confederation’s exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive.
The latest available country specific data shows that 74.4 percent of products exported from Switzerland were bought by importers in: United States contributing 22.9 percent of the global total, Germany with 15.4 percent, China with 5.5 percent, United Kingdom with 5.3 percent, France with 5.2 percent, Italy with 4.9 percent, India with 3.7 percent, Austria with 2.6 percent, Spain with 2.5 percent, Japan with 2.4 percent, Singapore with 2.1 percent and the Netherlands with 2.1 percent.
From a continental perspective, 47.7 percent of Switzerland exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 24.6 percent were sold to North American importers. Switzerland shipped another 24.3 percent worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean with 1.5 percent, Africa with 1.1 percent then Oceania led by Australia with 0.8 percent.
Given Switzerland’s population of 8.6 million people, its total 319 billion dollars in 2020 exports translates to roughly 36,900 dollars for every resident in the central European nation.
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Swiss global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Switzerland.
Pharmaceuticals account for 88.2 billion dollars which is 27.6 percent of total exports
Gems, precious metals account for 86.2 billion dollars which is 27 percent
Organic chemicals account for 25.4 billion dollars which is 8 percent
Machinery including computers account for 21.2 billion dollars which is 6.6 percent
Clocks, watches including parts account for 18.2 billion dollars which is 5.7 percent
Optical, technical, medical apparatus account for 16.7 billion dollars which is 5.2 percent
Electrical machinery, equipment account for 12.1 billion dollars which is 3.8 percent
Plastics, plastic articles account for 5 billion dollars which is 1.6 percent
Perfumes, cosmetics accounts for 3.8 billion dollars which is 1.2 percent
Coffee, tea, spices accounts for 2.9 billion dollars which is 0.9 percent
Switzerland’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.7 percent of the overall value of its global shipments.
Organic chemicals represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 15.5 percent year over year since 2019. In second place for improving export sales were coffee, tea, and spices which were up by 14.4 percent led by coffee. Switzerland’s shipments of gems, precious metals posted the third fastest gain in value up by 7.6 percent year over year led by gold.
The leading decliner among Switzerland’s top 10 export categories was the clocks and watches including the parts category which fell by minus 16.6 percent.
Switzerland’s Top 10 Imports
Switzerland imported 291.1 billion dollars worth of goods from around the globe in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 7.8 percent increase since 2016 and a 5 percent gain from 2019 to 2020.
Based on average exchange rates for 2020, the Swiss franc appreciated by 4.7 percent against the US dollar since 2016 and increased by 5.5 percent from 2019 to 2020. Switzerland’s stronger local currency makes Switzerland’s imports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively less expensive when converted starting from the Swiss franc.
From a continental perspective, 56.3 percent of Switzerland’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners supplied 26.7 percent of imports bought by Switzerland while 8.2 percent of worth originated from North America.
Smaller percentages of 5 percent came from Africa, Latin America got 3 percent excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania with 0.7 percent led by Australia.
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Switzerland’s import purchases during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Switzerland.
Gems, precious metals with 104.4 billion which is 35.9 percent of total imports
Pharmaceuticals with 38.9 billion dollars which is 13.4 percent
Machinery including computers with 19.1 billion dollars which is 6.6 percent
Vehicles with 15.2 billion dollars which is 5.2 percent
Electrical machinery, equipment with 14.9 billion dollars accounts for 5.1 percent.
Optical, technical, medical apparatus account for 8.2 billion dollars which is 2.8 percent
Organic chemicals account for 7.4 billion dollars which is 2.5 percent
Plastics, plastic articles accounts for 6.5 billion dollars which is 2.2 percent
Mineral fuels including oil accounts for 5.8 billion dollars which is 2 percent
Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings which is 4.5 billion dollars account for 1.6 percent
Switzerland’s top 10 imports accounted for just over three quarters or 77.3 percent of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Pharmaceuticals achieved the fastest growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 23.2 percent year over year. Trailing that were gems and precious metals up by 20.7 percent led by gold, then the Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings category up by 2.6 percent.
Leading the decliners was the organic chemicals category thanks to its minus 44.6 percent setback year over year.
Given Switzerland’s population of 8.6 million people, its total 291.1 billion dollars in 2020 imported goods translates to roughly 33,700 dollars in yearly product demand from every person in the European country.
Switzerland’s Top Trading Partners
Strategically located in central west Europe, Switzerland shares its land borders with Austria, France, Germany, and Liechtenstein.
Switzerland shipped 319 billion dollars in 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 5.3 percent increase since 2016 and a 1.5 percent uptick from 2019 to 2020. That figure also represents roughly 1.7 percent of overall global exports one year earlier in 2019 estimated at 18.709 trillion dollars.
Adopting a continental lens, 47.7 percent of Switzerland’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 24.6 percent were sold to North American importers. Switzerland shipped another 24.3 percent worth of goods to Asia. Smaller percentages went to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean with 1.5 percent, Africa with 1.1 percent then Oceania led by Australia with 0.8 percent.
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