Thursday, September 21, 2017

Gems sales slump for second year running

Lack of interest from Chinese buyers and a shortage of quality wares again dogged the latest Gems Emporium at Nay Pyi Taw. Ministry of Mines estimates of sales in the high millions of euros appear to be hopeful at best.

A man examines a slab of jade at the Gems Emporium in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo / The Myanmar TimesA man examines a slab of jade at the Gems Emporium in Nay Pyi Taw. Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo / The Myanmar Times

The 53rd emporium, which ran until yesterday, failed to attract substantial numbers of Chinese merchants, traders said. Selling on the order system began on June 28. Of the 6062 pairs of jade, 1000 pairs were sold outright, and 624 pairs fetched 36.56 million euros (US$40.72 million).

Last year, sales raised more than 900 million euros, encouraging ministry officials to hope to bring in 1 billion euros this year, said director U Win Htein.

Mid-way though the emporium, exhibitor U Zaw Shein Lone, the owner of Run Gemstone company, said, “Items are being sold, but not for high prices.”

Only 2000 Chinese merchants have arrived, down from 3000 last year, a blow to an industry that depends on Chinese demand. Jade Brother Company director U Arti said there was not enough jade on sale, and that many former customers were now purchasing through banks.

“Sales are not good,” he said. “The jade is not moving, and I doubt we will make as much money as we want.”

There is also a lack of high-quality stone, he added, due to a shortage coming from the mines in Hpakant.

Last year, there were almost 20,000 jade pairs for sale, compared to fewer than 5000 pairs at this year’s exhibition, he said.

U Zaw Shein Lone said, “The quality of gems this year cannot compare with the standard on offer last year, and the number of items for sale is also down.”

After today, items will be sold by auction.

In the gems emporium held last December, 6800 jade lots and nearly 300 gems lots were displayed. The emporium was for local traders only, and all lots were sold in Myanmar kyat. The basic tender price of a gem lot was K300,000 and a jade lot was K1 million.

Sales at last year’s gems and jade emporium were more than one-third down on 2014, organisers said. They attributed the shortfall – amounting to K40 billion (US$30.86 million) – to the absence of Chinese buyers and the poor quality of the stones.


Tranlsation by Khine Thazin Han