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China’s physical gold premiums climbed this week as additional stimulus measures aided sentiment days before Lunar New Year celebrations begin in the top buyer, while Indian retail consumers and jewellers showed limited interest ahead of a federal budget next week.

People’s Bank of China on Wednesday announced a deep cut to bank reserves to spur economic growth.

Premiums surged, suggesting investors are anticipating further market rescue measures and potential buying sprees ahead of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, Bernard Sin, regional director of Greater China at MKS PAMP said.

Chinese dealers quoted premiums of $46-$57 per ounce over spot prices, up from last week’s $42-$54.2 range.

“Despite China unleashing fresh monetary stimulus, their economy is still facing a high degree of uncertainty…, (which along with) fear and money printing are the best ingredients for gold,” said Hugo Pascal, precious metals trader at InProved.

Asia gold: Price dip fails to attract Indian buyers, Chinese demand up for New Year

In India, dealers were offering a discount of up to $9 an ounce over official domestic prices — inclusive of the 15% import and 3% sales levies, unchanged from last week as buyers remained on sidelines ahead of the budget to be presented on Feb. 1.

“Like every year, this year as well, jewellers have taken a pause anticipating a cut in the import duty. They will resume buying after the budget,” said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer with a private bank.

India’s commerce ministry has backed a long-standing demand from the jewellery industry to reduce import tariffs on gold bars, government and industry officials said.

In Japan, dealers sold gold at par to $1 premiums.

“Market expects the end of Bank of Japan’s zero rate policy to come in next March-April. That might influence investors to invest in other market products instead of gold,” said a Tokyo-based trader.

Hong Kong dealers charged premiums of $0.5 to $3.50, while gold was sold between at-par prices and $3 premiums in Singapore.

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