PARIS — Exports of Swiss watches rose 4.2 percent in August, with growth spurred by pricey timepieces, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said on Thursday.Sales of Swiss watches totaled 1.42 billion Swiss francs, or $1.44 billion, with timepieces priced at more than 3,000 francs increasing the fastest, rising 6.8 percent. Sales of less expensive watches fell, however, with the steepest drop, of 5.7 percent, coming from timepieces at below 200 Swiss francs. This decline came at a slower rate than in previous months, the federation noted.In terms of regions, the fastest growth came from the U.K., Germany and Japan. Exports to Hong Kong, the industry’s largest market, climbed 2.7 percent, marking a fourth consecutive month of growth there. Exports to China continued to grow, up 3.3 percent, marking a trend of “high growth levels,” the federation said.The U.S. market remained difficult, however, where exports fell 4.9 percent.Swiss watch sales are scrutinized as an indicator of demand for high-end goods. Watch makers have been gradually becoming more optimistic since the beginning of the year, following a near 10 percent drop in Swiss watch exports in 2016.The federation has said that figures in recent months showed business is improving for the industry.
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