Here’s what a major player in Asia, a widely respected pearl dealer, had to report to me recently on this matter:
We are estimating that the U.S. pearl market, on the wholesale level, is dead as a duck. None of the big hitters seem to have any appetite whatsoever... and this for many months, and likely many more months to come, so it seems. This is a huge market that is lifeless in the water, and, of course, it is us, the middle-men, who are suffering.
But imagine the farmers: the pressure on them grows by the week. Do you realize that the largest market just a few years back has practically closed its doors to purchasing? It’s a terrible situation. Many of us can only hang in because we are very small, innovative, and established also in Europe, Japan and Asia. We cannot count on the U.S. market any longer.
Here in Asia, quite a few medium and larger sized companies are in deep trouble too, mainly because they have loans with the banks and they MUST show a profit to these banks to maintain their loans and credit with the result that many are no longer honest and therefore are fiddling their figures to appear they are staying in the black. Unless the situation improves soon, this is a terribly deadly, self-perpetuating scenario.
This pearl picture looked bleak a few months ago... but the way many of my colleagues and I see it, it has NOT improved, and is not improving. To the contrary, it is becoming worse... and worse... and worse. I fervently hope that there are some of us to put the last lights out, should it come to this.
Sorry to be the conduit of bleak news. But this is a clear vision of what folks outside the country are thinking these days.