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One of the key findings of the latest TEFAF Art Market Report, it also revealed that in a year that saw an 8% rise in the value of the worldwide market as a whole, the global total reached €47.4 billion, just under the €48bn record achieved in 2007.

However, the report, titled The TEFAF Art Market Report 2014 - The Global Art Market with a focus on the US and China, shows that while the US share of the market rose 5% to 38%, the next two biggest players did not fare so well. China's share rose 2% to 24%, but the UK saw its share fall 3% to 20%.

Meanwhile, the European Union as a whole (including the UK) saw a 3% drop to 32%.

The TEFAF report, the most eagerly awaited statistical review of the international art market, is commissioned by The European Fine Art Foundation and launched each year at their Maastricht fair, which opened last week.

Its author, cultural economist Dr Clare McAndrew of Arts Economics, attributed much of the US resurgence in 2013 to Post-War and Contemporary art, which saw an 11% growth in values.

"The latter reached its highest-ever auction sales total of €4.9bn as significant record prices were paid for artists such as Francis Bacon, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol," she said.

Top Heavy

The report also shows that the growth in market value outstripped the increase in the volume of transactions, underlining the importance of higher-priced works to the market.

"After recovering strongly in 2010, the global art market has experienced mixed performance within different sectors and between nations," said Dr McAndrew.

"The much more moderate growth in sales over the last three years reflects the fact that different areas of the market have been recovering at different rates. Some sectors and individual businesses have reached peaks well in excess of those achieved in 2007, while others are still struggling to regain momentum."

The report looks in detail at the art and antiques markets in the United States and China. It says that the American market has doubled in value to €18bn since 2009, with Post-War and Contemporary art accounting for 59% of the value of US sales.

Chinese Market

The report also shows that although growth has slowed in China, it remains the most important of all the newer markets with a turnover of €11.5bn in 2013. Chinese paintings and calligraphy are the largest sector with 56% of the market by value.

However, non-payment by winning bidders at auction remains a persistent problem, with only 56% of lots at Mainland Chinese auction houses being paid for within six months.

Meanwhile, online art and antiques sales in 2013 were estimated conservatively at more than €2.5bn, or about 5% of the market, with a projected growth rate of at least 25% per annum.

Copies of the report at €20 each, excluding postage, can be ordered through www.tefaf.com under 'Shop'.

An e-version of the report will be published later this month.