Asia Gold-Festive rush lights up Indian market again

* Indian market flips to premium

* China’s discounts fall further

* Singapore premiums rise to $1-$1.45/oz

BENGALURU/MUMBAI, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Consumers flocked to jewellery shops again in India this week to snap up Diwali and Dhanteras festival deals, with a retreat in prices also adding to the sparkle in the world’s second biggest bullion consumer.

Dhanteras, one of the busiest gold buying days in India, saw retailers dole out a wide array of offers.

“Jewellery stores were opened early in the morning today as demand is picking up for Dhanteras,” said Anantha Padmanabhan, chairman of the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council.

“There are headwinds of higher prices and coronavirus outbreak, but we’re still expecting around 70% demand of the last year during Diwali.”

On Friday, local gold futures traded around 50,600 rupees per 10 grams.

Dealers charged $4 an ounce premiums this week over official domestic prices, inclusive of 12.5% import and 3% sales levies, versus last week’s $4 discounts.

Retail buyers, who had been postponing purchases for the last few months due to the coronavirus-led lockdowns, are now stepping out, said Prithviraj Kothari, managing director of RiddiSiddhi Bullions.

“Along with jewellery, people are also buying coins and bars.”

Diwali demand trickled into Singapore as well, with physical gold sold at $1-$1.45 an ounce premiums over international spot prices.

Vincent Tie, sales manager at Silver Bullion, said the “bullion fabrication industry is simply unable to meet the coming demands for investment-grade gold and silver,” warning of supply shocks similar to March if gold prices rally again.

China too saw activity pick up, with discounts easing to $18-$26.55 an ounce from $20-$26 last week.

“A pick-up in the bridal market will lend support to jewellery demand in coming months as many weddings were postponed to the current quarter,” said Yiyi Gao, senior analyst at Metals Focus.

“Nevertheless, we expect jewellery offtake will continue to see a year-on-year decline as major headwinds including impaired consumer sentiment, lower disposable income and concerns over price volatility remain.”

Reporting by Nakul Iyer, Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; Additional reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Bharat Gautam; Editing by Arpan Varghese and Steve Orlofsky