Asia Gold-Lockdowns keep retail buyers away in top gold hubs – by Arpan Varghese and Rajendra Jadhav (Reuters U.S. – April 24, 2020)

BENGALURU/MUMBAI, April 24 (Reuters) – Retail demand for physical gold suffered this week in top Asian hubs as jewellery shops remained shut due to coronavirus restrictions, but some regions saw steady buying from investors hunting for a safe haven.

Dealers in the world’s biggest gold consumer China continued to sell bullion at hefty $50 an ounce discounts versus benchmark spot prices this week. This compares with last week’s $50-$70 discounts, the biggest on record according to data going back to 2014.

“Some shops have opened, but people are in no mood to buy gold on the retail side, it’s still a high-end purchase,” Ronald Leung, chief dealer, Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong. Global spot prices are now well above $1,700 an ounce.

In India, physical trading remained suspended due to the coronavirus, and jewellery showrooms will stay shut ahead of the country’s biggest gold buying festival of Akshaya Tritiya on April 26.

“Usually ahead of Akshaya Tritiya, jewellers make purchases, but this year no one’s buying,” said Harshad Ajmera, proprietor of JJ Gold House, a wholesaler in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.

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