Saturday, December 1, 2012

Status report of Chinese contemporary art market

Confidence in the Chinese contemporary art market declined by 35% as the auction market there slowed down, a recent insightful report by Arttactic suggested. Following are the observations it made:
  • Confidence in the Chinese contemporary art market looks increasingly fragile as the ArtTactic Chinese Art Market Confidence Indicator drops 35% from May 2012. The overall Confidence Indicator is now standing at 49, down from 76.
  • This is the first time the Confidence Indicator has fallen into negative territory since the launch in February 2009. A reading of 49 (Indicator level below 50), means that the current sentiment in the Chinese contemporary art market is now split evenly between experts that remain positive about the market and those that feel increasingly pessimistic about the current market situation.
  • However, this sudden dip in confidence could be short-lived, as the Expectation Indicator (current reading 58) sits 44% above the Current Indicator (reading of 40), which signals that the respondents are more positive about the next 6 months than they are today.
  • Despite the negative trend in the market, the survey respondents remain highly positive (short- and long-term outlook) around a cluster of artists like Zhang Peili, Zhang Xiaogang, Ai Weiwei, Zhan Wang, Zhang Huan and Lin Tianmiao.
  • Sotheby’s recent sales of Chinese art continued to illustrate the uncertainty in the Chinese art market. Sotheby’s Hong Kong autumn sales in October 2012 generated a total of $262 Million, a 18% drop from Spring 2012 and a 37% drop from last Autumn.
  • The contemporary lots from Asian Contemporary sale and 20th Century Chinese Art sale achieved $12,250,160, less than half of this year’s Spring total and only accounted for 19% of the value in Spring 2011. The result fell 27% short of the low pre-sale estimate. The average price also dropped to $117,790, which is 44% lower than Spring 2012.
  • The price segment analysis showed a weakness at the top-end of the market. There were only 2 lots, which sold above $$1 million, accounting for 35% of the total sale value. The threshold for entering into the Top 10 was previously $455,000, but it dropped to $260,000. The number of lots in the middle market ($100k-500k) also dropped significantly.

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