* Premiums edge up to $1.20 in HK, steady in Singapore
* India, Thailand and Indonesia buy gold bars
By Lewa Pardomuan
SINGAPORE, March 26 Jewellers across Asia
chased gold bars after bullion prices dropped more than $10
this week, while main consumer India was stocking up as the
wedding season begins again in April, dealers said on Friday.
Dealers also noted active buying from jewellers in
Indonesia and Thailand while consumers from the electronics
sector in Hong Kong returned to the physical market as bullion
prices slipped below the psychological level of $1,100 an
Cash gold XAU= rose $6.10 an ounce to $1,096.45 an ounce
but was about 4 percent below a 6-1/2-week high near $1,150 hit
in early March and more than $100 below record levels struck in
"We are actually running out of stocks. There's not enough
time to replenish gold bars. Thailand is the hottest buyer.
Their demand is really good because they are quite
price-sensitive," a physical dealer in Singapore said.
"We've also seen inquiries from India. That's quite good."
The wedding season starts in April in India, which accounts
for 20 percent of global demand for gold. Gold jewellery is the
most common gift during religious events in India and local
jewellers normally stock up weeks before key celebrations.
Premiums were steady at 80 cents to $1 an ounce to the spot
London prices in Singapore, their highest since early February,
but they could rise next week because of the strong demand and
tight supplies. <GOLD/ASIA1>
Singapore dealers, who sell gold bars to consumers across
Asia, normally get their supplies from refiners in Switzerland.
"There has been strong demand in Asia and the supply is
tight as well in view of the approaching Easter holiday," said
another dealer. "The swiss refineries will be closed for couple
of days," he added.
In Hong Kong, premiums for gold bars inched up to $1.20 to
the spot London prices, also their strongest in more than a
month, versus $1 last week.
"It seems a drop below $1,090 an ounce attracts buybacks in
the physical market. We are seeing demand from jewellers and
the industrial sector," a dealer in Hong Kong said.
"After the Chinese New Year, refiners have been receiving
new order from the customers," he added. Gold has dropped from
recent highs, mainly due to a rally in the dollar and
uncertainty over a bailout package for debt-ridden Greece, but
an increase in ETF holdings showed gold still attracted
investors as currencies remained volatile.
The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR
Gold Trust (GLD), said its holdings stood at 1,124.647 tonnes
as of March 25, up 4.568 tonnes from the previous business day.
(Editing by Himani Sarkar)