(Alliance News) - Gemstones miner Gemfields Group Ltd on Monday said a February emerald auction in Zambia secured USD11.5 million in revenue, but added that the result was "dampened" by falling consumer demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The USD11.5 million represents a 6.5% increase from the USD10.8 million in auction revenue secured in February 2019.
Gemfields' Managing Director of Product & Sales Adiran Banks said: "The results of our first auction of 2020 are in line with prior auctions of commercial quality emeralds and demonstrate a stable underlying market. It was however evident that the fallout of COVID-19 - the coronavirus - dampened what might otherwise have been a buoyant result.
"Firstly, the uncertainty surrounding Chinese consumer demand in the wake of COVID-19 has understandably created negative sentiment in the mid-stream market. Secondly, a handful of our key auction customers did not travel to Lusaka as a result of the increased risk associated with COVD-19 and thirdly, the Hong Kong market - important for both gemstones and jewellery - has had to endure multiple successive misfortunes."
Gemfiels sold 2.9 million carats, having offered 4.5 million. In an auction last February, it sold 2.5 million carats, and offered 4.2 million.
Carats were sold at an average of USD4.01 each.
Gemfields shares were 2.6% lower at 10.42 pence each in London on Monday morning. They were 2.4% lower at ZAR2.00 each in Johannesburg.
By Eric Cunha; email@example.com
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