Weaker demand from China coupled with consumers not wanting to travel due to the novel coronavirus or Covid-19 outbreak put a dent on Gemfields’ first emerald auction of the year.
Revenues from the sale of predominantly commercial-quality emeralds in Zambia reached US$11.5 million, representing an average price per carat of US$4.01. A total of 29 companies placed bids at the auction.
The results demonstrated a stable underlying market, but the coronavirus spread “dampened what might otherwise have been a buoyant result,” noted Adrian Banks, the company’s managing director of product and sales.
“The uncertainty surrounding Chinese consumer demand in the wake of Covid-19 has understandably created negative sentiment in the midstream market. A handful of our key auction customers did not travel to Lusaka as a result of the increased risk associated with it,” noted Banks.
Hong Kong, an important market for gemstones and jewellery trade, is also facing challenges on multiple fronts, he added.
Since July 2009, Gemfields has held 35 auctions of emeralds and beryl from the Kagem mine in Zambia, generating US$647 million in total revenues.