Physical gold demand in India was subdued this week as consumers postponed purchases due to higher domestic prices during the wedding season, while Singapore saw an uptick in activity.
"Buying (in India) slowed down because of price rises. Consumers are expecting a correction in prices," said Ashok Jain, proprietor of Mumbai-based gold wholesaler Chenaji Narsinghji.
Local gold prices jumped to 48,990 rupees ($651.92) per 10 grams on Thursday, the highest level since Nov. 19.
Wedding season buying has moderated, but it could pick up in the coming weeks as many states have started easing restrictions, said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a gold importing bank.
This week, dealers in India were offering a discount of up to $2.5 an ounce over official domestic prices, inclusive of the 10.75% import and 3% sales levies, up from last week's discount of $1.5.
In Singapore, premiums of about $1.80 to $2.50 per ounce were charged this week, compared with last week's range of about $2 to $2.50.
There was increase in buying due to inflation concerns, said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central.
Many are also worried about the performance of other asset classes and we have seen more clients come in to buy gold especially in the past few days, Lan said.
In top consumer China, premiums of about $3 to $6 an ounce were charged over benchmark spot gold rates, with activity still muted after Lunar New Year holiday last week.
"The physical market is still very quiet. But I expect steady demand to continue because people worry about inflation and the tension between the Ukraine and Russia," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals
Hong Kong premiums slightly widened to $0.50-$2.00 an ounce versus $0.50-$1.80 last week.