High gold prices, COVID spike and weak shine in top Asian hubs

Indian gold prices rose to ₹55,558 per 10g earlier this month, not far from the all-time high of ₹56,191 set in August 2020. The flow of old jewelry and coins is moderate in India, says a trader

Indian gold prices rose to ₹55,558 per 10g earlier this month, not far from the all-time high of ₹56,191 set in August 2020

Elevated domestic prices dampened retail appetites for physical gold in India this week, while a resurgence in COVID-19 cases prompted traders in China and Hong Kong to offer discounts.

Indian gold prices rose to ₹55,558 per 10g earlier this month, not far from the all-time high of ₹56,191 set in August 2020.

“Prices are very volatile. Consumers are hoping that prices cannot sustain at higher levels,” said a Mumbai-based trader at a private gold importing bank.

Dealers offered rebates of up to $45 an ounce over official domestic prices — including 10.75% import and 3% sales taxes — down from last week’s $77 rebate, a high in almost six years.

The flow of old jewelry and coins has slowed amid price volatility, a New Delhi-based precious metals trader said.

In China, discounts widened to $4-$6 an ounce to global benchmark spot rates, from $2-$4 the previous week.

In Hong Kong, gold was sold somewhere between at par with benchmark prices and discounted at $4 versus $3 discounts last week.

Regional physical demand is mixed amid the COVID-19 situation in China and the massive discounting in India, and there is no question that the physical demand in Europe and Asia that has been supporting the market has eased, the independent analyst said Ross Norman.

But demand from institutional buyers remains robust, Mr Norman said. Gold in Singapore, meanwhile, continued to trade at a premium of around $1-1.80 an ounce. While companies and individual investors have started buying gold as prices have receded from recent highs, “we’ve seen a lot more selling” as prices are still comparatively high,” said Brian Lan, managing director of retailer GoldSilver Central . “Some jewelers are having a hard time because our retail side is not doing so well. So they’re probably selling the inventory to take profits,” added Mr. Lan.

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