ZURICH, May 28 (Reuters) - Swiss exports sank in April after Switzerland’s central bank abandoned a cap on the franc early in the year, with three-quarters of exporters reporting sharply lower revenue, the Federal Customs Office said on Thursday.
The surge in the Swiss franc after Switzerland scrapped the currency’s cap in mid-January has led Swiss firms to raise prices, looked to develop new markets or sought to cut employment costs in response.
Exports fell 1.3 percent in real terms in April and slid more than 5 percent in nominal terms, to 16.294 billion Swiss francs ($17.2 billion). The chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry, Switzerland’s biggest exports, took the sharpest hit -- 13 percent lower on the year.
The SNB’s cap on the franc had shielded exporters from a strong franc, but the January move to drop the cap sent the currency, seen as a safe haven during times of global economic stress, soaring against the euro and has led some economists to predict the Swiss economy will contract this year.
$1 = 0.9466 Swiss francs Reporting by Katharina Bart