Britain’s tax authorities have released some figures that show the UK is making the most of its cultural patrimony by generating exports. June’s powerful sales were a big part of the nation’s overall improvement in trade balance, according to the Independent:
There was a £500m increase in sales of paintings and sculptures to buyers from outside Europe in the month, almost double the increase of the previous month, according to the Office for National Statistics and HMRC. This narrowed Britain’s trade gap to the lowest level since January. […]
Melanie Gerlis, art market editor at the Art Newspaper, said: “June really was the busiest art market month I have ever known and London is the second-biggest trading hub for art behind New York. £500m doesn’t seem that outrageous.”
The HMRC’s figures show more than three quarters of the artworks by value were exported to the US and Switzerland during June, although Asian buyers are increasingly influential.
Those numbers come on top of figures released by Reuters showing the rapid rise of art exports in 2011-2012:
The value of art and cultural objects exported from Britain rose by 32 percent to 1.97 billion pounds ($3.06 billion) in the year to May 2012, according to a statement from Sweet & Maxwell, a legal information provider owned by Thomson Reuters.
Fine art exports paint a healthy picture for the economy (Independent)