Swiss watch exports to their top market Hong Kong fell a modest 1.3 percent in July amid violent anti-government protests that have weighed on watch sales, Reuters reports.
That was a sharp improvement from the 27 percent drop in June.
Overall exports by the sector rose 4.3 percent to 1.9 billion Swiss francs (US$1.94 billion) in July.
One of the world’s most popular shopping destinations, Hong Kong is on the verge of its first recession in a decade as mass demonstrations scare off tourists and bite into retail sales.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday she hoped a peaceful weekend anti-government protest was the start of an effort to restore calm and that talks with non-violent protesters would provide “a way out” for the Chinese-ruled city.
Hong Kong is the biggest foreign market for Swiss timepieces, absorbing 13.5 percent of the exports by value in July.
The US market had a 10.1 percent share and China 8.0 percent, Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry data showed on Tuesday.
Vontobel analyst Rene Weber said in a note last week that Hong Kong was one of the most important markets for Swiss watchmakers Swatch Group and Richemont, representing about 11 percent of their sales.
Kepler Cheuvreux’s Jon Cox said he had cut growth assumptions for this year and next. He also reduced earnings per share estimates for Swatch Group by 6 percent and for Richemont by 4 percent over the next two to three years.
Swatch shares have lost 7.5 percent while Richemont stock has gained 19.3 percent this year.
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