Indian dealers widen discounts as wedding season demand slows

By Rajendra Jadhav and Harshit Verma

(Reuters) – Top Asian hubs saw some selling of physical gold this week as people cashed in on relatively high prices, with lacklustre demand during the wedding season in India prompting dealers to offer steeper discounts.

The bullion industry was hoping the momentum seen during the festival of Diwali would continue, but higher prices seem to be hampering wedding season demand, said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a private bank.

Local gold prices in India were around 61,100 rupees per 10 grams on Friday after hitting a record high of 61,914 rupees last week.

Dealers offered discounts of up to $6 an ounce over official domestic prices — inclusive of 15% import and 3% sales levies — versus last week’s $3 discounts.

“Asia in general is pretty quiet at the moment. There has been some sporadic selling in places, but generally the markets are marking time,” StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell said.

Premiums in China fell to $20-$40 an ounce over global spot prices, which were holding near $2,000 an ounce. Premiums this week fell from $43-$58 quoted last week.

Prices are high enough for some people, prompting them to book profits, resulting in lower premiums in Shanghai, said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals.

But buying will resume during December-January, Fung added.

Hong Kong dealers charged $0.50-$2.5 per ounce premiums.

In Japan, gold was sold at anywhere between on par with the global spot rates to $1 premiums.

In Singapore, gold changed hands at premiums of $1.25-$2.25 per ounce..

There has been more of selling from clients due to the high prices, said Brian Lan of Singapore dealer GoldSilver Central.

“A lot of the businesses generally close their books in December, so if they actually sell at this point of time- the profits and liquidity will be back in their bank account.”

($1 = 83.2180 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Harshit Verma and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; editing by Arpan Varghese and Maju Samuel)