Thursday, 31 May 2012

Hong Kong's Two Worlds

The Martian Pink diamond sold at almost double its estimate
Today the Hang Seng Index saw the worst May performance in 14 years, thanks to the fears of the euro zone going down the drain and the Chinese economy screeching to a halt.

The index closed down 0.32 percent to close at 18,629.52 Thursday and the downward trend led to Graff Diamonds pulling its $1 billion initial public offering that was due to set its price tomorrow.

If listed, it would have been Asia's biggest IPO so far this year, but the sparkling gems of the London-based jeweller were not enough to calm investors' fears. "Consistently declining stock markets proved to be a significant barrier to executing the transaction at this time," Graff said in a statement.

So Graff will have to wait for the next window of opportunity and who knows when that will be...

Then there are reports retail rents have peaked now that companies are not willing or able to pay double or triple the original rent in the last three years. Abercrombie & Fitch still have yet to open its flagship store and it's paying almost $1 million in rent each month for its prime Central location. Imagine how many polo shirts and jeans it has to sell on a daily basis.

"Until recently, retailers were willing to pay higher rents for shops in prime locations because retail sales were growing at such a high rate," said Joe Lin, senior director of retail services at property consultancy CBRE.

"But they have turned cautious this year because of the slowdown in retail sales and tourist arrivals from the mainland."

However if you look at the ultra luxury market though, there's gobs of money exchanging hands.

Earlier this week Christie's set a record price for pink diamonds with the sale of the "Martian Pink" diamond. The 12-carat gem was named by Harry Winston in 1976, the same year the Viking I spacecraft landed on Mars.

The auction house had estimated the diamond would sell at a high guesstimate of HK$95 million -- and after six minutes of frenzied bidding, it actually sold for a gob smacking HK$135 million ($17.4 million). It is the largest round fancy intense pink diamond to be sold at auction.

Christie's also sold a 6.04-carat Burmese ruby ring for a record $3.3 million, or $551,000 per carat.

There's lots of money here, but it's the uber rich who are holding the purse strings will the rest of us plebeians are eking out a living.

Hong Kong is of two different words -- a stock index that's plummeting and a buoyant auction scene setting record prices.

What gives?

No comments:

Post a Comment