Art market down 11% in 2016

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HONG KONG: Global art sales fell 11 percent in 2016, dragged by a global growth slowdown and political headwinds, a new report said Wednesday.

The US remained the biggest market in the world, with the UK in second and China third, according to the first ever “Global Art Market Report” by international art fair Art Basel and Swiss finance firm UBS.

It comes as the Hong Kong edition of Art Basel draws wealthy collectors to Hong Kong this week.

“Slowing economic growth and continuing political uncertainty in the global economy filtered down to the market in 2016 and were reflected in cautious buying and selling in some areas,” the report said.


The global art market achieved total sales of $56.6 billion in 2016, compared with $63.3 billion the previous year.

Revenues were hit by fewer high-end sales, particularly in the fine art auction market, which had driven market expansion up to 2014, the report said.

The US, UK and China “cemented” their leading positions, together accounting for 81 percent of global art sales by value.

While the US remained top of the list, its share shrank from 43 percent to 40 percent, although the report said this was widely perceived as a reversion to normal levels after rapid escalation in previous years.

The UK remained stable on 21 percent and China saw its share rise to 20 percent, up from 19 percent in 2015.
However, China topped the auction sector with 34 percent of global share by value.

In a report last month, the world’s biggest database for art prices and sales, Artprice, also said China had regained the number one spot for auction sales.

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