With a 30% rise in the value of the franc against the euro, costs of luxury Swiss brands such as Rolex have increased. The move has hit the tourism industry, the watch industry and currency traders but seems unlikely to impact the global art market.
The Swiss art fair, Art Basel, is the epicentre of the global art scene and it looks as though the local currency shift will have little impact on business there.
The costs of attending Art Basel, as a gallery and as a collector, will increase, however, art work prices will remain constant as they are listed in US dollars and euros. At this level, a small increase in travel, hotel and other costs is unlikely to deter collectors and galleries visiting one of the most prestigiousfairs in the world.
In addition, collectors holding Swiss francs will have increased spending power when buying works priced in US dollars or euros. The franc has strengthened about 9.6% against the US dollar and 13% against the euro since the Swiss National Bank scrapped its cap in January.
We spoke to Singapore-based, Swiss art dealer, Frédéric de Senarclens of Art Plural Gallery, for his perspective. He was upbeat and does not think the rise will negatively impact the art market.
We asked him specifically if collectors and galleries might prefer Art Basel Hong Kong over Art Basel this year, as a result of increased costs in Switzerland.
“I doubt it. Art Basel is unique. Collectors see Art Basel as the premier art fair with strong gallery selection and will want to be part of it. Asian galleries are unlikely to be deterred by this rise as there is a different collector profile. Asian galleries will still want to go if they can, regardless of increased costs of attending.”
Now the dust has settled on the news that startled markets in January, it seems the impact will be felt very lightly in the art world. Meanwhile, the euro is falling against Asian currencies, making art works from European-based galleries better value for Asian collectors. Watch this space for our reports on Art Basel Hong Kong in March.
Any views or opinions in the interview are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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