HONG KONG (Reuters) – An extremely rare, vivid purple-pink diamond mined in Russia is expected to fetch up to $38 million when it goes under the hammer on Nov. 11, the auction house Sotheby’s said on Monday.



Model poses with "The Spirit of the Rose" during a Sotheby's preview in Hong Kong


© Reuters/TYRONE SIU
Model poses with “The Spirit of the Rose” during a Sotheby’s preview in Hong Kong



The Spirit of the Rose is seen on display during a Sotheby's preview in Hong Kong


© Reuters/TYRONE SIU
The Spirit of the Rose is seen on display during a Sotheby’s preview in Hong Kong

The oval gem, which is named after a Russian ballet ‘The Spirit of the Rose’, is the largest of its kind to be offered at auction. The trend for coloured stones has increased as an asset class by the super rich in recent years.



a close up of a hand: Model poses with "The Spirit of the Rose" during a Sotheby's preview in Hong Kong


© Reuters/TYRONE SIU
Model poses with “The Spirit of the Rose” during a Sotheby’s preview in Hong Kong

Mined by Russian diamond producer Alrosa, the 14.83-carat diamond was cut from the largest pink crystal ever found in Russia, Sotheby’s said.

“The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size. Only one percent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10-carats,” said Gary Schuler, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division.

Naturally coloured diamonds occur because they posses a particular lattice structure that refracts light to produce coloured, rather than white, stones.

Pink diamonds are both rare and aesthetically highly prized by collectors, analysts say.



a piece of cake on a plate: The Spirit of the Rose is seen on display during a Sotheby's preview in Hong Kong


© Reuters/TYRONE SIU
The Spirit of the Rose is seen on display during a Sotheby’s preview in Hong Kong

The gem is being shown in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei before being auctioned in Geneva on Nov. 11.

(Reporting by Yoyo Chow and Farah Master; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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AUSTIN — Texas collected 6.1% less in sales tax in September than a year earlier, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday.

Retail trade was a rare bright spot, he said.

The state’s oil and gas sector, though, continued to get hammered. So did all other major sectors except retail.

A pre-pandemic bolstering of sales-tax collections on e-commerce has helped offset what would otherwise be even bigger setbacks to the state’s revenue workhorse, Hegar said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and low price of crude oil continue to weigh on the Texas economy and sales tax revenue,” he said in a written statement.

In five of six months since the pandemic struck, the state’s sales tax haul is down from 2019. A 4.3% increase in July, based on Gov. Greg Abbott’s full reopening of the economy in June, was the only exception. Otherwise the trend has been down: By 9.3% in April, 13.2% in May, 6.5% in June, 5.6% in August and 6.1% last month.

Texas’ monthly sales-tax haul has slumped again, raising questions about how the state economy is faring amid the coronavirus pandemic. Wrapping up the state fiscal year, Comptroller Glenn Hegar on Tuesday issued revenue numbers that had more down arrows than up arrows.

In July, Hegar announced that what had been expected to be a nearly $3 billion positive end balance in general-purpose revenue for this cycle instead would be at least a $4.6 billion shortfall.

Last week, in his office’s publication “Fiscal Notes,” Hegar explained why prospects for state budget writers when the Legislature meets next year could get better – or even worse.

“COVID-19 is not disappearing,” he said. “We’re going to have to learn how to strike a balance between keeping people safe and allowing the economy to slowly open up. We have to recognize the new norm.”

But “human behavior” is hard to forecast, he said.

“Even when restrictions are lifted or loosened, when will people feel safe going to the movies again? When will they feel comfortable packing into stadiums or attending conferences and conventions? It’s difficult

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese commercial banks have made rare cuts to their foreign currency deposit rates in recent weeks to reflect the easier monetary policies of overseas economies grappling with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The move is expected to encourage Chinese companies and households to covert their often large foreign currency holdings to yuan and dampen speculative purchases of foreign currencies, analysts said.

Bank of Communications <601328.SS> <3328.HK> said on Saturday that it was lowering interest rates on deposits below $3 million in certain foreign currencies.

The one-year dollar deposit rate at all of China’s “big five” state banks now stands at 0.35% which compares with levels of 0.75-0.8% previously, according to data from the lenders.

In contrast, the benchmark one-year yuan deposit rate is much higher at 1.5%. Long betting that the yuan would eventually depreciate, Chinese companies and households have heavily invested in foreign currency assets.

Chinese foreign currency deposits stood at $819.5 billion as of end-August, up $25.8 billion from the previous month, and marking the highest level since March 2018. But as overseas economies embark on aggressive monetary easing, cutting rates to zero or negative, foreign capital has flowed into China – the only major economy expected to show growth this year. As a result, the yuan

has appreciated more than 5% against the dollar since late May.
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(Reporting by Han Xiao, Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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