Swiss Commodities Trade Plummets at Faster Rate

36

The trade of raw materials, such as oil, through Switzerland fell by almost a third in May compared to the same month last year.

The latest 32% monthly fall in commodities trading followed a 27.5% decline in April, 22% in March and double-digit negative figures going back to the start of the year.

The latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) show the volume of Swiss commodities trading in freefall as the Ukraine war rages on, destabilising the shipment of grains around the world and redirecting the flow of Russian oil.

Switzerland has established itself a one of the most important global hubs for trading oil, metals and foodstuffs.

Swiss-based companies handle 40% of all oil trades and have taken a 60% slice of the metals trading business, 65% in cotton, 55% in coffee and 35% in cocoa, according to the industry association Suissenégoce.

The sector employs 35,000 people and contributes some 4% to the Swiss economy, Suissenégoce said in its annual report published in March.

Geopolitical ructions and mounting sanctions against Russia have had a dramatic effect on Swiss-based trading, FSO figures from Wednesday reveal.

Sales in the service sector as a whole fell 6.7% year-on-year in May, dragged down by a huge decline in commodities trading.

The concrete figures back up reports that commodities traders are retreating to new markets less affected by sanctions, such as the United Arab Emirates.

Companies registered in Dubai bought at least 39 million tonnes of Russian oil worth more than $17 billion (CHF14.6 billion) between January and April, according to the Financial Times.

The newspaper also reports that Swiss-based traders are steadily building up their UAE operations, which has become an increasingly important hub for Russian oil trading.

Last month, Unites States Treasury officials met with Swiss commodities traders to talk about their role in sanctions against Russia.

Source : Swissinfo