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Asia Gold-Demand slow in top hubs, traders bank on Chinese New Year

Reuters · 01/06/2023 06:47
Asia Gold-Demand slow in top hubs, traders bank on Chinese New Year

COVID fears remain a headwind in China - analyst

Indian dealers offer discounts of up to $32

By Rajendra Jadhav and Arundhati Sarkar

- Retail gold buying in major Asian hubs was slow on higher prices at the start of the week, while demand was seen picking up in top consumer China on the back of reopening and upcoming Lunar New Year festival.

With China days away from lifting border controls, traders expect gold demand to improve as the country welcomes travellers after being shut from the rest of the world for three years.

"There is certainly the possibility of fresh buying ahead of the New Year (Jan. 22 - Feb. 5), but people are still very of the COVID outlook," StoneX analyst Rhona O'Connell said.

The recent uptrend in the Chinese yuan may also encourage fresh buying, O'Connell added.

Premiums XAU-CN-PREM ranged anywhere between $8 and $14 an ounce this week over the global benchmark spot prices, compared to $12 a week ago. GOL/

Analysts also hoped for better demand in centres like Singapore and Hong Kong as China reopens.

Bernard Sin, regional director, Greater China at MKS PAMP said, most cargo flights via Hong Kong are fully booked as banks and manufacturers restock inventory ahead of the spring festival. "Chinese visitors to Hong Kong will likely revitalize the jewellery sector," he added.

Hong Kong traders charged $1-$2.5 an ounce premiums this week, similar to that in Singapore.

In India, local prices jumped their all-time high hit in 2020, prompting some investors to liquidate their holdings. MAUc1

Dealers were offering a wider discount XAU-IN-PREM of up to $32 an ounce over official domestic prices — inclusive of the 15% import and 3% sales levies, up from last week's $26.

Supplies of old jewellery and coins, also known as scrap supplies, have gone up substantially in the last few days because of higher prices, said a New Delhi-based bullion dealer.

In Japan bullion changed hands anywhere between a discount of 50 cents to a premium of 50 cents.

(Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru, Rajendra Jhadav in Mumbai; Editing by Eileen Soreng)

((Arundhati.Sarkar@thomsonreuters.com; twitter.com/Arundhati_05; +1 646 223 8780 Ext: 2776))