Growth in both exports and imports
Foreign trade in Liechtenstein increased in both directions in 2018 in comparison with the same quarter of the prior year. The rise in exports was stronger than imports, with the foreign trade surplus having accordingly increased.
According to a report from the Office for Statistics (AS), Liechtenstein exported goods totaling 3.657 billion Swiss francs last year. This represents an increase of 8.4 percent year on year. In contrast, Liechtenstein imported goods worth 2.015 billion francs overall in 2018, corresponding to a year-on-year rise of 0.6 percent. An export surplus in the amount of 1.643 billion francs was therefore recorded at year-end 2018, up 272 million francs against the prior year.
The report cites companies that export machinery, appliances and electronics as driving forces behind the growth in exports. With a share of 24.5 percent in the export market, this sector pushed the metal industry down into second place, having last year recorded the highest level of exports of any economic sector. In regional terms, exports to Asia increased significantly. At 58.8 percent, Europe does, however, remain the most important export market for Liechtenstein.
In a year-on-year comparison, imports of raw materials, semi-manufactured products and fuels rose in 2018. In contrast, imports of consumer and capital goods were down. Nevertheless, at 41.3 percent of total imports, capital goods again represented the most important category of imports in 2018. Broken down by region, imports from China and Italy rose most strongly year on year. With European countries accounting for a share of 78.5 percent of total imports, Europe remains Liechtenstein’s most important trading partner in the import sector as well.
Trade with Switzerland is not included in this data. Generally speaking, surveys on behalf of the Office for Statistics do not take this into account, as the trade of goods with Switzerland is recorded at Swiss border posts.