Online trading leaps at BI

UK fine wine and spirit merchant BI has reported a 28% growth in value on its LiveTrade platform to £32 million as buyers cash in on a thriving market.

The merchant also said the number of client using the platform had risen this year and that ‘client-executed trades’ totalled £6m – up 200% from last year (£2m) with £4m worth of fine wine sold back to BI as collectors cashed in on rising prices – especially for prestige cuvée Champagne.

As was raised by Liv-ex in its end of year report, the weak sterling to US dollar exchange rate has provided a welcome boost to the market. BI said the weaker pound had “maintained confidence in the Asia and US markets, and that this has been reflected in the investment desire of UK buyers.”

BI said that Salon’s 2002 vintage led the pack for investment growth – up 24% to £3,965, closely followed by Louis Roederer’s Cristal Rosé 2006 – up 23%.

Other top performers this year have been Carruades de Lafite’s 2009 (the ‘second wines’ have been consistently excellent performers for several years now), Cheval Blanc 1998 and Pavie 2003.

BI managing director Gary Boom comments: ”There is a combination of reasons for the growth in online trading. Many wines have risen in value to such an extent that clients do not feel they can now justify drinking them.

“In other cases, collectors have realised that their tastes have changed over the years so they are taking advantage of our platform’s live buying prices in order to execute a quick sale and instantly turn their unwanted wines into cash – which they virtually always reinvest into new wines.

“It is clear that our clients are really interested in managing their wine collections as they would their other portfolios: some things they will never sell, but other things they are happy to move away from once they have made a good profit.

“What is really interesting for us is that this profit is sometimes moved into another wine investment opportunity, and other times divested into wines they plan to drink – and which they have effectively acquired for free.

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