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UBS: Art Markets in China Are More Stable Than Europe

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 19 March 2024

China’s art market exhibits resilience, showing a nuanced shift towards liquidity and collecting amidst evolving consumer behaviours.

UBS: Art Markets in China Are More Stable Than Europe
Keystone/STR

In 2024, China’s art market demonstrated extraordinary resilience against a backdrop of global economic uncertainties, including a real estate downturn and demographic shifts. According to their art market report.

After reopening its borders in early 2023, China’s art scene—encompassing galleries, auctions, and museums—witnessed a resurgence in visits, aligning with the Lunar New Year. This resurgence was vital in reviving interest and sales in the art domain, despite the broader economic challenges.

The art market’s robustness was particularly evident as it managed a 9% increase in sales, diverging from the global trend of declining values.

Auction data from seven major Mainland Chinese houses in 2023 highlighted a shift, with autumn auctions underperforming compared to their spring counterparts.

This adjustment indicates a market recalibration, reflective of both global economic conditions and internal market dynamics.

Findings further revealed that Chinese calligraphy and painting continued to dominate, stabilising the auction market’s size. However, a significant uptick was observed in the letters and manuscripts sector, indicating evolving interests within the art community.

The average price per item sold at auction in 2023 dropped to its lowest since 2011, suggesting a transition towards more cautious market dynamics.

This shift could be a response to the broader economic context, marked by the IMF’s forecast of moderated growth for China in 2024, amidst ongoing challenges in the real estate sector and geopolitical tensions.

This nuanced market behavior underscores the Chinese art market’s adaptability, with collectors and investors strategically navigating through economic headwinds.

The focus on liquidity and opportunistic buying reflects a sophisticated understanding of art as both a cultural asset and an investment vehicle.

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