Quality jade shortage hits trade

Jade traders are complaining of meagre profits and sluggish sales at Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay jade centre.

Polished gemstone prices have peaked and sales languish, while jewellery and bracelets are selling for less than expected, traders said. High-quality stone is rare, said trader Ko Soe Nyunt, adding that he is waiting for better times.

“This is the worst market for years. We can’t resell the stones for a better price than we paid for them,” he said.

Ko Soe Nyunt Aung said he bought jade from Hpakant for K3 million, but was offered only K2.5 million at Maha Aung Myay. “That wouldn’t even cover my capital. I’ll wait for a better price,” he said.

Ko Wai Phyo Aung, who sells polished jade, is also reserving his stock because of the low prices, and will not buy any more stones soon.

“If we sell at the prices we’re being offered we cannot recover our capital. We dare not buy more gemstones. Transactions have been sluggish for ages. But if we want to stay in business, we have to sell for what we can get, even though profits are slim, or we operate at a loss,” he said.

Ko Soe Nyunt Aung said Chinese traders were offering too little, and the tax on jade transactions was 25 percent. Many Chinese traders were buying at Hpakant instead of Mandalay.

“Moreover, the Chinese traders don’t buy all the stones they want. And then the tax on jade transaction is a bit high. If you want to sell your stones, you have to agree the price they pay. Traders won’t sell their stones for less than they paid, so business is slow,” he said.

Jewellery trader Ko Phoe Pyar said he has to sell his products for 25 percent less than in previous years, despite having to pay more for high-quality stones. “We can’t get the price we expected when we sell jade jewellery but we have to pay a higher price to buy. Chinese traders are paying less. We haven’t had a decent profit for ages,” he said.

The same is true for Ko Soe Thu. “My bracelets sell well, but not for the right price,” he said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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