Myanmar sells $3bn in gems

Myanmar's annual gem emporium took in more than $3 billion this year, the most ever for the country's annual sale of gems and jade, organizers said Tuesday.

Income reached $3.4 billion and saw the successful auction of 6,007 of 7,454 jade lots, 126 out of 436 gem lots and 224 of the total 342 pearl lots, they said.

"This year sale surpassed the target and is the record sale in Myanmar emporium history," said Tun Hla Aung, joint secretary of the Myanmar Gems & Jewellery Entrepreneurs Association.

The emporium earned just more than $2.4 billion dollars last year, the highest in recent decades. Improved access to the country and a rise in the price of jade boosted revenue.

"This year's jade price is more than 20% higher than last year," Mr Tun said.

An uncut lump of jade weighing nearly a quarter of a metric ton failed to make its starting price of $82 million dollars, Mr Tun told dpa. "No one dared to buy such a precious stone," he said.

Over 4,000 traders from Thailand, China, Hong Kong, and Japan attended the emporium this year, according to organizers. Myanmar started to hold annual gem sales in 1964.

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