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A recent change in policy by the Chinese government, to stop giving loans to jade merchants, has affected trade at the world-famous jade market in Mandalay frequented by Chinese jewellers and tourists.
Sein Win, a jade merchant and chairman of the market’s Philanthropist Association, said the market has been quiet since the loan suspension was imposed.
“Usually, merchants from China buy jade here but they’ve recently stopped coming,” he told DVB. “The only deals taking place in the market are between Burmese merchants. If this continues long-term, the jade sellers will stop coming too.”
He said the market, which is a popular tourist attraction and is thought to be the largest jade market in the world, is slowly dying due to a shortage of raw jade shipments from the country’s major jade mine, Hpakant, due to continued armed conflicted between Burmese government forces and the Kachin Independence Army.
“These days, we are receiving fewer shipments of raw jade as operations in Hpakant have been suspended for so long due to the fighting,” he said. “We are currently dealing only in low-quality rocks from small-scale operations.”
Another jade merchant, Thein Win, seconded Sein Win’s comment.
“Business is much slower than last year,” he said.
The jade merchants said they hope for better market access to trade jade with countries such as Thailand, Macau and Europe rather than having to rely upon Chinese buyers.