Demand rebounds for Swiss made weapons

A woman holds a 9 mm pistol at the booth of Swiss firearms manufacturer in Nuremberg, Germany Keystone

Sales of Swiss-made arms rose by 3% in the first half of the year, marking a modest turnaround fuelled by growing demand from regional power South Africa and nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

This content was published on July 28, 2016 - 16:37

Switzerland notched CHF224 million ($228 million) in sales of “war materiel” during the January-June period, up from nearly CHF217 million during the same timeframe a year ago, according to figures published online by the State Secretariat for Economic AffairsExternal link (SECO) on Thursday.

That represents a modest rebound from the full-year results for 2015, when such exports reached their lowest level in nearly ten years. Exports for all of 2015 had dropped to CHF446.6 million ($449 million), down 21% from the previous year, SECO reported in February.

The federal numbers cover a broad range of military goods – ranging from handguns to explosives to armoured vehicles – and are based on information provided by exporters in their export declarations.

Germany retained its status as the biggest buyer during the first half of 2016, but its share dropped to CHF40.8 million down from CHF63 million a year earlier. The next biggest buyer, South Africa, accounted for CHF36.7 million in sales, a huge increase from just under CHF2 million the year before.

After that came India, which bought CHF30.3 million, up from almost CHF9.9 million a year earlier, and Pakistan, which bought CHF24.9 million, another big jump from just CHF254,250 the year before.

Sales to France jumped to CHF11.2 million, up from CHF3.8 million in the similar period a year ago, mirroring the move in the opposite direction from Italy, which accounted for CHF4.2 million in sales, down from CHF14.4 million.

Sales to the United States remained fairly even, at almost CHF13.2 million, slightly down from CHF14 million in the first half of 2015. Those to Indonesia fell to just under CHF3.7 million, down from almost CHF32.3 the year before when it purchased air defence systems.

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