Gold demand lacklustre in top hubs, Indian dealers eye wedding season boost

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Physical gold demand in major Asian hubs softened this week with prices near multi-month peaks, although Indian dealers looked to the upcoming wedding season for renewed interest in bullion.

“Jewellers have taken a pause. They are waiting for prices to correct,” said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a private bank.

Local gold futures closed at 49,059 rupees per 10 grams on Thursday, after rising to 49,610 rupees earlier this week – the highest level since June 3.

Dealers were this week offering a discount of up to $2.5 an ounce over official domestic prices — inclusive of the 10.75% import and 3% sales levies — up from the prior week’s discount of $2.

Buyers are now postponing their purchases for weddings, said a New Delhi-based bullion dealer.

Gold has traditionally been an integral part of Indian weddings, making India a major consumer of the metal.

“Besides, there is a lot of pent-up demand as activity was quite muted in 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions,” said Sugandha Sachdeva, vice president of commodity & currency research at Religare Broking.

In China, the world’s top consumer of gold, and Japan, retail demand continued to struggle due to higher prices.

Premiums of $1-$4 an ounce in China were charged over benchmark spot prices compared with last week’s $2-$5 an ounce premium.

Switzerland exported more gold to mainland China in October than in any month since June 2018.

But interest in bullion remained strong in Singapore as rising price pressures led investors to buy gold as a hedge against inflation, said Vincent Tie, sales manager at dealer Silver Bullion.

“Most investors are also aware that gold and silver are in their bull market cycles at this moment,” he said.

Premiums in Singapore were at $1.60 an ounce, while a premium of $1 per ounce was charged in Hong Kong.

(By Rajendra Jadhav, Nakul Iyer and Arundhati Sarkar; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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