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Physical gold buying in India rose this week, as domestic prices fell back from record highs, while premiums in China rallied as demand improved as expectations grew that the country would announce fiscal measures to support the economy.

Local gold prices traded around 62,500 rupees ($751.66) per 10 grams, down from record highs of 64,460 rupees ($775.23) reached last month.

“Gold demand remains lower than usual due to higher prices. In many states, retail buyers are refraining from making purchases due to the ongoing inauspicious period of Paush month,” said Ashok Jain, proprietor of Mumbai-based gold wholesaler Chenaji Narsinghji.

In the Hindu calendar the month of Paush is considered an inauspicious period.

Dealers were offering a discount of up to $11 an ounce over official prices - including 15% import and 3% sales levies, down from last week’s $16 discount.

Asia gold: High prices drain demand in India, China sees rising premiums

Retail demand has been subdued during the last few weeks, forcing jewellers to stay on the sidelines, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bullion-importing bank.

In top-consumer China, premiums jumped to $37-$45 per ounce over spot prices, versus last week’s $23-$38 premiums.

“Top Chinese officials have pledged to strengthen fiscal support for the economy, and there is speculation that import quotas could be limited in 2024,” Bernard Sin, regional director of Greater China at MKS PAMP said.

Singapore saw $1.50-$2.50 per ounce premiums, edging slightly higher from last week’s range.

“In Singapore, dealers appear to be ‘swimming’ in inventory, with muted buying activity,” said Hugo Pascal, precious metals trader at InProved.

In Japan, dealers sold gold from on par with international spot prices to a $1 premium.

Gold in Hong Kong exchanged hands between $0.5-$2.25 premiums, broadening the range of premiums quoted last week.

“Robust physical demand in China, geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea and January seasonality will be supportive for the metal going forward,” Pascal said.

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