India discounts ease slightly on price reprieve; China market muted

·2-min read
A salesman arranges gold bangles inside a jewellery showroom on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, a major gold buying festival, in Mumbai

By Rajendra Jadhav and Eileen Soreng

(Reuters) - Physical gold dealers in India reduced discounts this week as demand picked up slightly after prices eased, while activity in top consumer China was still muted by COVID-induced curbs.

In India, dealers offered discounts of $10 an ounce over official domestic prices - inclusive of 10.75% import and 3% sales levies - versus last week's $12 discounts.

"Demand has improved slightly but still many retail consumers are waiting for a bigger drop in prices," said Chanda Venkatesh, managing director of CapsGold, a bullion merchant based in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

Local gold prices traded around 52,200 rupees per 10 grams on Friday, after rising to 55,558 rupees last month, a 19-month peak.

Despite the ongoing wedding season, demand hasn't picked up at a normal pace due to current prices, said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a private bank.

In China, discounts rose to around $10 per ounce versus global benchmark spot rates from $4.3-$6 last week.

"Overall, for Shanghai, because the city is still locked down, the market is a little quiet," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals.

In Hong Kong, gold changed hands at $2.5 an ounce discounts to $0.50 premiums.

Singapore saw premiums of $1.30-$1.80 per ounce.

"We've seen a lot of clients coming to sell and even wholesalers selling some inventories or taking profit off their physical gold. And scrap, we received quite a bit of used gold from retail and wholesalers", said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central.

However, there's a lot of safe-haven interest for gold, Lan added.

Vincent Tie, sales manager at dealer Silver Bullion said gold demand has been "well-supported by the war in Ukraine and inflation in the real economy so far."

In Japan, gold sold at anywhere between on par with the benchmark to a $0.50 premium.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Seher Dareen in Bengaluru, Rajendra Jhadav in Mumbai; Editing by Paul Simao)

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