MUMBAI/BENGALURU (Reuters) - A drop in prices spurred some interest for physical gold in major Asian hubs this week, but failed to stoke significant demand in India as buyers awaited bigger dips.
In the Indian market, gold futures were trading at around 29,800 rupees per 10 grams on Friday, having fallen to the lowest since Jan. 19, at 29,638 rupees, earlier this week.
“Prices have fallen but there is no rush of consumers,” said Ghanshyam Nichani, owner of Dhanraj Jewellers in Mumbai.
“They are waiting for bigger falls. In the coming weeks, demand could improve as festivals are approaching.”
Dealers in India were charging a premium of up to $1 an ounce over official domestic prices this week, down from $1.5 last week. The domestic price includes a 10 percent import tax.
Global prices have fallen sharply, but in the local market, the correction was modest due to a drop in the rupee to a record low, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bank.
India’s gold imports fell for a sixth month in June to 44 tonnes as a drop in the rupee to record lows lifted local prices to a near 21-month high, curtailing demand.
Benchmark spot gold touched the lowest in a year this week at $1,211.08, pressured by expectations for further interest rate hikes in the United States and a resilient greenback.
“Demand (in Asia) has been reasonably good because of lower prices. It’s not superb, but has picked up because of the price range,” said Cameron Alexander, an analyst with Thomson Reuters-owned metals consultancy GFMS.
In Singapore, premiums of about 80-90 cents were charged over benchmark rates, a Singapore-based dealer said, adding demand in the region picked up as global prices fell.
A Tokyo-based trader said premiums in Japan were unchanged at around 50 cents on steady demand.
In top consumer China, premiums ranged between $2 and $4 an ounce this week versus $1-$4 last week. Hong Kong premiums were unchanged from last week at 60 cents-$1.30.
Demand has not been quite so aggressive in China with the renminbi’s depreciation, Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong, said.
Weakness in the yuan, as a result of an ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China and a slowing economy, has weighed on demand for commodities.
Meanwhile, demand for gold is expected to rise during the second half of 2018, as inflation potentially rises and a global trade war may impact currencies, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.
Additional reporting by Karen Rodrigues and Kishan Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton