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Asia Minute: China Slide Hits Global Art Market

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China’s slowing economy has raised concerns about everything from tourists visiting Hawai‘i to economic growth in Australia. And now there’s another impact: on the global art market. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

The global art market is in decline for the first time in five years, and China is a big part of the reason.  The Europeans track the figures, the Americans still buy more art than anyone else in the world…but the Chinese market saw the steepest drop last year.  That’s according to the European Fine Art Foundation, just out with its annual report that Art Net News says is “widely regarded as the most comprehensive summary of the art market available.”

Overall, the report shows that global art sales were $64-billion last year….a fall of 7% from a year earlier.  The largest market remains the United States—43% of global art sales...about twice as much as the second place United Kingdom.  China now makes up 19% of the world art market….but sales there tumbled 23% last year, to just under $12-billion.

The latest information matches anecdotal developments from seasonal art auctions in Hong Kong by Christies, Sothebys and other art dealers.  The next indicator for the demand side of works from Asia will come next week on the mainland when exhibits, sales and auctions will mark Asian Art Week in New York.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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