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Asia Gold-Low prices spark flurry of activity in India

* China premiums between $3-$7/oz amid muted activity

* Chinese net gold imports via Hong Kong fall in January

* Indian jewellers aggressively building inventory- dealer

By Rajendra Jadhav and Shreyansi Singh

Feb 26 (Reuters) – Physical gold demand in India gained momentum this week as retail buyers and jewellers lapped up bullion at near eight-month low prices, while Singapore continued to see steady interest for both gold and silver.

Gold futures in India were trading around 46,000 rupees per 10 grams, not far from the eight-month trough of 45,861 rupees touched last week.

“Consumers are quite comfortable with current price level. There is good demand for jewellery from retail buyers,” said Harshad Ajmera, the proprietor of JJ Gold House, a wholesaler in the city of Kolkata.

He added the 50,000-rupee mark is a psychological price barrier for Indian consumers.

Dealers charged premiums of about $4 an ounce over official domestic prices, inclusive of 12.5% import and 3% sales levies, versus last week’s $7 premium, which was an eight-month peak.

Jewellers are aggressively building inventory as prices are attractive and retail demand is robust, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a bullion importing bank.

In Singapore, premiums of $1.4-$2 an ounce were charged amid firm demand.

“We’ve seen a little more buying from wholesale and also retail especially after the Lunar new year,” said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central, adding interest for silver remained elevated.

Suppliers have flagged delayed deliveries for gold and silver due to physical shortages developing in the global market, said Vincent Tie, sales manager at another Singapore dealer, Silver Bullion.

In traditional top consumer China, activity was muted by COVID-19-related restrictions during the usually busy holiday period, dealers said, with premiums of around $3-$7 an ounce over benchmark spot gold prices.

China’s net gold imports via Hong Kong fell in January as the restrictions dimmed market activity.

In Hong Kong, dealers sold bullion at anywhere between on par with the benchmark to a $1 premium. Japanese dealers charged a premium of $0.50.

(Reporting by Shreyansi Singh and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; editing by Arpan Varghese and Amy Caren Daniel)

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