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Coronavirus Impacts Jade Auction Turnout in Myitkyina, Organizers Say

The third Kachin jade emporium, Myitkyina, northern Burma

Organizers of Myikyina’s third jade auction say that only around half of the expected amount of jade is on display at the event, held from February 24-28.

Yitnang Ze Lum, chair of the Kachin State Jade Entrepreneurs Association said that while dealers expected to show more than 1,000 lots of jade, just 600 lots of jade were brought to the event.

“We didn’t expect too much from this auction. The problem is that the Wuhan virus impacted the jade auction this time,” he told KNG, referring to the coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan, China. “If it had not occurred, many businessmen would have visited this auction,” he added.

Still, Yitnang Ze Lum said that more jade was shown this year than in the second auction, held last year.

The event was organized jointly by the Kachin State government and the Kachin State Jade Entrepreneurs Association.

The government only permits jade to be bought and sold using Myanmar kyat at the Myitkyina auction. Yitnang Ze Lum said that they would request that foreign currency be permitted at the next such auction, expected to be held in November.

“We want to ask that jade traders come and buy jade lots in this auction. We are trying tour best to get permission to allow for foreign currency to be used to sell and buy jade lots,” he explained. “We want to use foreign currency in this business because it will be convenient, and our country will get more tax revenue. So we want to request that both the Union government and the Kachin State government make it happen.”

Organizers only permitted dealers to show C and D grade jade lots in the first and second auctions held in Myitkyina. A,B,C and D grade jade lots were permitted to be shown in this most recent auction.

Those in attendance at the event included businesspeople in the jade trade from Mandalay, Naypyidaw, and Sagaing Region. The price for jade lots ranged between 1 million kyat (US$692) and more than 100 million kyat ($69,200).

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