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Asia Gold-India jewellers eye festive boost as buyers ignore price dip

* Chinese premiums rise to $5-$9 this week

* Singapore premiums at $1.2-$1.6/oz

* Current price very attractive to build stocks - Indian dealer

Sept 17 (Reuters) - A pullback in domestic prices failed to revive physical gold demand in India this week, with jewellers banking on the upcoming wedding and festive season, while top consumer China saw an uptick in buying.

“Sentiment is weak. Retail demand is lower than normal as many consumers are preserving cash,” said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a private gold importing bank.

On Thursday, local gold futures fell to 45,812 rupees per 10 grams, a trough since Aug. 10.

Dealers in India were charging premiums of up to $3 an ounce over official domestic prices — inclusive of 10.75% import and 3% sales levies — versus last week’s $2.

Jewellers could increase buying in coming days as prices have corrected and peak demand season is approaching, said another Mumbai-based bullion dealer, adding “the current price is very attractive for jewellers to build stocks.”

With the start of wedding season as well as festivals like Dhanteras and Diwali, the December quarter usually accounts for about a third of India’s gold sales.

In China, premiums rose to $5-$9 per ounce on average over global benchmark prices, which fell as low as $1,744 an ounce this week, from $3-$4 last week.

The top-consumer saw strong physical demand, with premiums as high as $7-$9, due to strength in the Chinese yuan and a rush to safe-haven on the back of collapsing property stocks, said Bernard Sin, Regional Director, Greater China at MKS.

“We saw extremely large gold importation into China this week,” Sin added.

Premiums of $0.50-$1.20 were charged in Hong Kong, while $1.20-$1.60 premiums were quoted in Singapore.

“On the retail front, we see the trend of investors buying more as long as prices are below $1,800,” said Vincent Tie, sales manager at dealer Silver Bullion.

In Japan, gold was sold at a premium of $0.50 an ounce.

Reporting by Rajendra Jhadav in Mumbai, Nakul Iyer and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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