India discounts widen, China sees some safe-haven buying

Physical gold dealers offered bigger discounts in India this week to lure buyers as the wedding season concluded, while some consumers in China bought bullion to hedge against growing economic concerns.

Weddings are one of the biggest drivers of gold purchases in India.

“Footfalls at jewellery stores are far lower than the last month. Retail buying is tepid since wedding season is over,” said Mukesh Kothari, director at dealer RiddiSiddhi Bullions in Mumbai.

Discounts of about US$8 an ounce were quoted over official domestic prices — inclusive of 10.75 per cent import and 3 per cent sales levies — compared with last week’s US$6 discounts.

Buying from dealers and jewellers was also weak as retail demand could remain subdued for the next few weeks, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bullion importing bank.

In China, gold changed hands at anywhere between on par with global benchmark spot prices to US$2 to US$3 an ounce premiums.

While Shanghai trading volumes were relatively muted, people still like to buy some gold as a safe-haven investment, especially amid inflation and geopolitical issues, said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals.

It has been nearly a month since the Shanghai hub lifted lockdowns but China continues to deal with sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks, and consumers remained cautious.

“The yuan resilience may encourage growing interest among local investors to reload gold inventories,” said Bernard Sin, regional director for Greater China at MKS.

Swiss customs data this week showed gold shipments to China dropped in May.

In Hong Kong, gold was sold at anywhere between a discount of US$1.8 an ounce to US$1.80 premiums, while dealers in Singapore charged US$1.20 to US$1.70 premiums.

Wholesalers have been quiet this week amid price fluctuations, said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central.

Japanese dealers sold gold at par with the benchmark to US$0.50 an ounce premiums.

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