Physical gold demand picked up in some Asian hubs this week as softer prices drew buyers, allowing dealers in India to narrow discounts and driving up premiums in Singapore.
Indian dealers were offering a discount of up to $10 an ounce over official domestic prices — inclusive of the 15% import and 3% sales levies, down from last week’s $20 discount.
"Jewellers were making purchases for next month’s exhibition. The price correction gave them an opportunity to build stocks," said Mukesh Kothari, director at dealer RiddiSiddhi Bullions in Mumbai.
Early next month, India's financial capital Mumbai will host the India International Jewellery Show.
Local gold prices fell to 49,703 rupees per 10 grams on Thursday, the lowest since May 16.
Retail demand was decent this week but some buyers were still waiting for a further price correction, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bank.
Chinese dealers sold gold at $3.5-$9 over global prices, while Hong Kong saw sales between at par with the benchmark to a $2.5 premium.
"Chinese demand is one of the more encouraging stories for gold right now with domestic jewellery stores reporting significant increases in demand," independent analyst Ross Norman said.
Singapore premiums widened to $1.50-$2.20 an ounce.
"The dip in gold and silver prices has sparked bargain buying from astute investors and it has kept us very busy on the retail front," said Vincent Tie, sales manager at Singapore dealer, Silver Bullion.
International spot gold prices were this week pinned near the $1,700 per ounce level due to an elevated U.S. dollar.
However, in Japan, the yellow metal was sold between flat to a premium of $0.50, with Tokyo-based dealers saying most buyers stayed on the sidelines because a weaker yen had driven up local gold prices and that a dip in rates could encourage demand.
(Reporting by Eileen Soreng, Bharat Govind Gautam, Arundhati Sarkar and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Rajendra Jhadav in Mumbai; Editing by Aditya Soni)