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Virus hits Lusaka auction 'buoyancy'

Johannesburg-listed Gemfields says a Zambia emerald auction has been negatively impacted by the fallout from the coronavirus and uncertainty about Chinese consumer sentiment.
Virus hits Lusaka auction 'buoyancy' Virus hits Lusaka auction 'buoyancy' Virus hits Lusaka auction 'buoyancy' Virus hits Lusaka auction 'buoyancy' Virus hits Lusaka auction 'buoyancy'

Staff reporter

Managing director Adrian Banks said the company's first 2020 auction of commercial-quality emeralds from 75%-owned Kagem in Zambia, which generated US$11.5 million of revenues from 19 lots sold (of 25 offered) at an average US$4.01 per carat, was in line with previous sales.

"It was however evident that the fallout of Covid-19 - the coronavirus - dampened what might otherwise have been a buoyant result," Banks said.

He said uncertainty around Chinese consumer demand had created negative sentiment in the mid-stream market, while some key auction customers did not travel to Lusaka due to heightened travel risks. "The Hong Kong market - important for both gemstones and jewellery - has [also] had to endure multiple successive misfortunes," Banks said.

Gemfields says Kagem gemstones have generated nearly US$650 million of revenues from 35 auctions since mid-2009.

Gemfields shares (GML) were down 2.4% early today, capitalising the company at US$157.1 million.