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BENGALURU: Physical gold demand was mixed in top Asian hubs this week, with overall activity subdued going into Christmas and the new year, although the upcoming holidays prompted some consumers in Singapore to pick up bullion for gifting.

While the market has quietened, there’s been quite a bit of a retail buying this week into year-end, said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central.

“There is some year-end festive and gift demand, especially from business clients looking to reward staff.”

Dealers in Singapore charged premiums of $1.50-$1.80 per ounce over benchmark spot gold prices.

While international wholesale demand is strong, the domestic market in Singapore is “still relatively moribund” and dealers are cutting prices, disguised as special promotions over the Christmas period in an attempt to invigorate the market, said David Mitchell, managing director at Indigo Precious Metals.

In top consumer China, premiums of $6-$9 an ounce were charged, unchanged from last week.

Expect gold buying interest to pick up in 2022 as a combination of inflation and political concerns, driving interest into physical gold, said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals.

In Hong Kong, premiums of $0.50-$2.00 were charged versus $0.50-$1.80 last week.

Dick Poon, general manager at Heraeus Metals Hong Kong Ltd, said demand was increasing due to spot gold rates staying below $1,800 for much of this week.

In other major consumer India, dealers were offering a discount of up to $2 an ounce over official domestic prices - inclusive of 10.75% import and 3% sales levies - unchanged from the last week.

“Footfalls were lower at jewellery showrooms this week,” said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a private bank.

Rising cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have made jewellers cautious and they are slowly rebuilding inventory from the wedding season, said a Chennai-based bullion dealer with a private bank.

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