Thursday - 24 April 2014

Exports down 1%, imports up 42.6%

20 February 2012Written by Ivan Macquisten

THE balance of trade in the UK’s fine art and antiques industry swung heavily towards imports in 2011.

The latest statistics, compiled from raw Customs data byATG, show the value of overall exports down 1% to £3247.9m, compared with a 42.6% rise in imports to £3882.8m.

Although these figures assess the value of art and antiques moved across UK borders, rather than that bought and sold, they give a clear indication of market forces.

Digging deeper into the results, it is fine art that shows the most dramatic change as a whole. Exports in 2010 rose by over 60%, but in 2011 they fell by just over 5%. Imports, meanwhile saw almost exactly the same increase - just under 45% - for both years.

Interestingly, movements of pictures between the UK and US grew in both directions, perhaps an indication of the growing polarisation of London and New York as the world centres of fine art sales

Fine art exports to Switzerland - important as an entrepot - fell by a quarter while those within the European Union have fallen by more than 50%. EU imports have risen very slightly, by 1.5%.

Hong Kong has also seen healthy imports from and exports to the UK of pictures.

In global terms, antiques exports from the UK rose a healthy 30% in 2011 (a comparable rise to that of 2010), while imports increased by 25% compared to a 2010 rise of more than 60%.

Again, within the EU, movement is very much one way, with antiques exports down 4.3% to £13.2m and imports up by 133% at £53.4m.

Despite the burgeoning importance of Hong Kong and the Far Eastern markets, the United States remains the UK's most important trading partner by some distance.

Both exports (£1082.4m, up 14.5%) and imports (£1287.9m, up 33.7%) of pictures broke through the £1bn barrier, registering healthy rises, while antiques also saw increases both ways.

Switzerland stays clear in second place for pictures, with a significant swing towards UK imports, but while it retains second place as a source of antiques being imported into the UK, it has fallen into fourth place as a destination for UK antiques exports.

Hong Kong has now taken the number two spot after the US, with a rise of 11.3% to £79.6m, doubtless a reflection of the increasing importance of its salerooms for the dispersal of Chinese and other Asian works of art. Add the £35.8m - almost double the 2010 figure - of antiques exported to mainland China and the shift in influence becomes even clearer.

Russian trade has also made a considerable comeback, pipping Switzerland as the third most important destination for antiques at £40.7m. The UK also exported £52.6m worth of pictures there, putting Russia in fourth place for picture exports.

Georgia makes a sudden appearance as a hugely significant source of pictures, exporting more than £200m worth to the UK.

Billionaire art collector Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is hoping to become prime minister of Georgia, reportedly keeps much of his $1bn art collection in London, displaying replicas on the walls of his palatial home in Tbilisi. The owner of Pablo Picasso'sDora Maar with Cat(bought for $85m/£48.3m at Sotheby's New York in May 2006) is apparently fearful that his assets are at risk of seizure by the cash-strapped state.

Mexico rates highly for the second year running as a source of pictures, with the UK importing £82.6m worth (a 66.2% increase). Again, this could reflect the interests of a single collector, Carlos Slim, the multi-billionaire art collector and world's richest man, whose recently endowed Soumaya Museum in Mexico City holds the largest collection of sculptures by Dalí and Rodin anywhere.

There has also been a notable increase in the export of antiques to Qatar.

Up 267% at £23.5m, this may well be linked to the ongoing acquisitions policy of the Royal family-endowed national museum.

 

UK Art and Antiques Global Trade Figures for 2011

Figures in brackets show the percentage relationship with the previous year

 

Exports 2011

 

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old): £521.5m (+30.1%)

FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age): £2726.4m (-5.3%)

TOTAL EXPORTS: £3247.9m (-1.0%)

 

Imports 2011

 

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old):  £402.5m (+25.5%)

FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age):  £3480.3m (+44.9%)

TOTAL IMPORTS: £3882.8m (+42.6%)

 

 

 

ATG Trade Figures - non-EU Countries

Figures in brackets show the percentage relationship with the previous year

 

Exports 2011

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old): £508.3m (+31.3%)

FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age): £2644.9m (-2.1%)

TOTAL EXPORTS: £3153.2m (+2.1%)

 

UK EXPORTS OF ANTIQUES TO:

USA: £231.3m (+10.5%)

Hong Kong: £79.6m (+11.3%)

Russia: £40.7m (+443%)

Switzerland: £40.7m (+58.4%)

China: £35.8m (+98.9%)

Qatar: £23.5m (+267%)

Australia: £9.5m (+1.1%)

Taiwan: £9.3m (+221%)

Japan: £8.8m (+15.8%)

Norway:£6.1m (n/a)

 

UK EXPORTS OF PICTURES TO:

USA: £1082.4m (+14.5%)

Switzerland: £621.0m (-24.3%)

Hong Kong: £143.1m (+82.1%)

Russia: £52.6m (+121%)

Mexico: £35.1m (+118%)

Singapore: £24.7m (-20.3%)

Australia:£16.8m (n/a)

Ukraine:.£13.3m (n/a)

UAE:.£10.9m (n/a)

Canada:£10.8m (n/a)

 

Imports 2011

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old): £349.0m (+17.1%)

FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age):.£3134.7m (+52.0%)

TOTAL IMPORTS: £3483.7m (+47.6%)

 

UK IMPORTS OF ANTIQUES FROM:

USA: £232.6m (+17.8%)

Switzerland: £44.7m (+19.8%)

Hong Kong: £23.2m (-4.9%)

Qatar: £11.1m (n/a)

China:.£8.3m (+84.4%)

India: £8.2m (n/a)

Japan: £3.9m (-29.1%)

Iran: £3.1m (+19.2%)

Canada:.£2.5m (+66.7%)

Russia: £2.0m (+53.8%)

 

UK IMPORTS OF PICTURES FROM:

USA: £1287.9m (+33.7%)

Switzerland: £833.1m (+42.2%)

Georgia: £204.1m (n/a)

Hong Kong: £86.8m (+65.3%)

Mexico: £82.6m (+66.2%)

Russia: £31.8m (+67.4%)

Japan: £25.4m (+7.6%)

Norway: £10.4m (+44.4%)

Australia: £9.0m (+34.3%)

UAE: £8.4m (n/a)

 

 

ATG Trade Figures - EU Countries

Figures in brackets show the percentage relationship with the previous year

 

Exports 2011 

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old): £13.2m (-4.3%)

FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age): £81.5m (-54.3%)

TOTAL EXPORTS: £94.7m (-50.7%)

 

UK EXPORTS OF ANTIQUES TO:

Germany: £6.9m (+214%)

France: £3.2m (-34.7%)

Italy: £0.8m (-27.3%)

Sweden: £0.7m (n/a)

Netherlands: £0.4m (-87.9%)

 

UK EXPORTS OF PICTURES TO:

Germany: £12.6m (-46.4%)

France: £11.1m (-57.1%)

Netherlands: £6.8m (-47.7%)

Spain: £4.5m (n/a)

Portugal:£4.2m (n/a)

  

 

Imports 2011

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old): £53.4m (+133.2%)

FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age): £345.6m (+1.5%)

TOTAL IMPORTS: £399.0m (+9.8%)

 

 

UK IMPORTS OF ANTIQUES FROM:

Austria: £33.9m (n/a)

Netherlands: £10.2m (+30.8%)

France: £7.5m (-18.5%)

Germany: £1.4m (-22.2%)

Italy: £0.2m (-86.7%)

 

UK IMPORTS OF PICTURES FROM:

France: £86.3m (+35.5%)

Netherlands: £45.9m (-11.0%)

Austria: 41.5m (n/a)

Luxemburg: £24.7m (n/a)

Germany: £22.7m (+26.8%)

 

 

All the trade figures that appear on these pages are based on raw data from HMRC.

Analysis and comparisons by Antiques Trade Gazette for ATG Media © 2012

 

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