Gems sales slump for se­cond year run­ning

The Myanmar Times - - Business - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­

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.

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

Photo: Pyae Thet Phyo

A man examines a slab of jade at the Gems Em­po­rium in Nay Pyi Taw.

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