One of the issues facing the art market is capital controls on Mainland Chinese art buyers. We already saw mentions of this by art dealers in Hong Kong during Art Basel.
In the recent New York sales, Chinese buyers were mostly visible as under-bidders. Whether the few buyers are using money they earned overseas or money they previously moved off shore isn’t really something that can be easily discovered.
But to illustrate the point of how difficult it is becoming to move money out of China, the South China Morning Post has a story on the recently released list of individuals and firms convicted of violating the bans on moving money out of the country:
a Guangdong resident used the US$50,000 annual foreign exchange purchase quotas of 84 people to remit US$4.35 million to his own accounts in Australia and Hong Kong from December 2015 to January this year. The person was fined 1 million yuan, SAFE said.
An individual from Shandong province siphoned US$2 million out of China between February and December 2015 by putting money into 41 bank accounts of his workers and ordering them to transfer the money overseas through online banking.
Another two people, like the others identified by the regulator only by their family names, used multiple accounts at underground banks from which they made a series of transfers overseas, each one below the official cap. In one further case an individual used as many as 31 separate bank accounts to move money to Hong Kong.
Revealed: the sneaky ways Chinese are moving money across the border (South China Morning Post)