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An uptick in gold prices this week deterred physical purchases in top consumers, prompting dealers to offer lower premiums in China and deeper discounts after a key gold-buying festival in India.

In India, the world’s second-largest gold consumer and a major importer, domestic prices were around 73,000 rupees per 10 grams on Friday, close to a record high of 73,958 rupees hit last month.

Demand has softened after a brief pickup during last week’s Akshaya Tritiya festival, said Harshad Ajmera, the proprietor of JJ Gold House, a wholesaler in the eastern city of Kolkata.

Indian dealers offered a discount of up to $10 an ounce over official domestic prices, inclusive of 15% import and 3% sales levies, versus last week’s discount of $7.

Jewellers have paused their buying since retail demand plunged after Akshaya Tritiya, and there are fewer weddings this year, said a Mumbai-based bullion dealer.

Asia Gold: Sky high prices take shine off Indian gold buying festival

India’s April gold imports more than doubled to $3.11 billion, compared with $1.53 billion in March.

In top consumer China, premiums were seen between $16-$30 per ounce over benchmark spot prices, versus $26-$35 last week.

Despite the ongoing economic challenges, it’s likely that gold imports will remain subdued in the near future, said Bernard Sin, regional director, Greater China, at MKS PAMP.

“Gold import quotas are scarce, if not entirely absent,” Sin said, adding that these factors could limit the upward potential of the Shanghai gold premium.

High prices dampened activity in other hubs as well, with bullion being sold between at par to $2.50 premiums in Singapore, and at $0.50 to $2.50 premiums in Hong Kong.

In Japan, dealers sold gold at a $0.25-$1 premium, wider than last week’s range.

Traders said demand has come down a little bit because of the weaker yen, and profit-taking was bigger than last week.

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