Capital Outflow Curbs May Cast a Shadow on the Art Market

Capital continues to flow out of China. As the depreciation of the currency persists, for months cash has been flooding into the insurance market of Hong Kong. Yet the authorities is coping with the outflow. Since October 29, 2016, UniPay has stopped supporting its customers for paying their Hong Kong insurance bills. Customers can still use UniPay for purchasing accident insurance, travel insurance and health insurance; but not the products which involve investment, i.e., investment-linked life insurance.

Analysts are worried about the impact of the authorities’ possible curbing actions on the art market. According to an earlier report by Bloomberg, Robin Xing, economist at Morgan Stanley, said that the government may cap UnionPay credit-card spending by its citizens abroad on high-value products such as art and antiques. According to the report, billionaire Liu Yiqian used his American Express card to pay for a US$45-million (HK$348,440,000, including the buyer’s premium) 15th century Tibetan embroidered silk thangka.

However, from sources of, Liu did not use the American Express card for payment.


Auction House: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: 3370
Date: November 26, 2014
Lot: 3001
Estimate: --
Realized: HK$348,440,000