London - The global art market, which is worth an estimated $70bn, could be about to enter a crisis amid concerns over falling oil prices and a slowdown in the Chinese economy, industry experts say.

The findings of researchers at the University of Luxembourg, who have been analysing the results of millions of sales over 30 years, show that art sales fluctuate like other commodities such as gold and real estate, and now they are heading for a big dip.

"A lot of specialists in the art market have been expecting it to cool down and, I think, we are seeing it [happen] this year," said Georgina Adam, an art market expert.

"Will it collapse? I don't think so. Will we see a downward trajectory? Yes, absolutely."

Christie's, the world's largest auction house, sold $7.4bn in art last year, a billion less than it sold a year earlier.

But it is smaller commercial galleries that are feeling the squeeze, with too much art and not enough buyers willing to hedge their bets on new or lesser known talents.

It has forced many galleries to reduce their prices and some to close their doors altogether.

Source: Al Jazeera