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Demand for Swiss watches has seen a significant decrease
Demand for Swiss watches has seen a significant decrease in the past two months as the global downturn takes hold and consumer spending on luxury items dries up, the Swiss watch industry federation said on Thursday.

Swiss watch exports dropped 22.4% in February, year-on-year, to 1 billion CHF ($876 million) from the record highs of 2008.

Last year, the Swiss watch industry saw a record profit of 17 billion CHF ($14.9 billion). However, the downturn in demand for one of Switzerland's key exports was already evident at the end of last year.

Meanwhile, Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker, which saw a "noticeable drop in demand in the last months of 2008" said sales were likely to increase in the second half of 2009.

Switzerland is expected to see a 2.2% GDP drop this year amid the recession, according to a government forecast.


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