Asia Gold-Price dip lures some buyers, activity still muted in India

* China premiums little changed at $7-$10/oz

* India premiums ease to $4 versus $5 last week

April 1 (Reuters) - Physical gold demand saw an uptick in some Asian hubs this week, as lower prices buoyed the metal’s demand, while jewellers in India were still cautious into the end of the financial year.

“From the next week, demand should improve. The industry was busy with year-end closing this week,” said Ashok Jain, proprietor of Mumbai-based gold wholesaler Chenaji Narsinghji. The Indian fiscal year runs from April to March.

Dealers charged premiums of up to $4 an ounce this week over official domestic prices, inclusive of 10.75% import and 3% sales levies, down from the last week’s $5.

On Thursday, local gold futures were trading around 45,000 rupees ($613.40) per 10 grams after falling to 44,108 rupees earlier this week, their lowest level since April 2020.

“Retail demand could rise in coming weeks if prices remain around this level,” a Mumbai-based dealer with a bullion importing bank said, adding, “Only concern is lockdown. If government imposes lockdown, then suddenly demand would falter.”

In Singapore, premiums of $1-$2 an ounce were charged over benchmark spot gold prices, dealers said.

“We’ve seen very good demand both on the retail side and also on the wholesale side as (spot) prices went below $1,700 this week. Wholesalers and retailers are using this opportunity to buy gold,” said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central.

Chinese customers were charged premiums of about $7-$10 an ounce, little changed from last week on stable demand.

“Physical demand continued to be healthy in China and low spot prices gave another boost to trigger a buying spree,” said Bernard Sin, regional director for Greater China at MKS.

In Hong Kong, premiums eased to $0.5-$1.8 an ounce from $1-$2 last week.

In Japan, gold was sold between flat to a premium of 50 cents, compared with premiums of $1 last week. ($1 = 73.3620 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Editing by Rashmi Aich)