Asia Gold: Lower prices lure buyers, India demand to pick up in April
Spot gold hovered around $1,580 an ounce on Friday, after falling 5 percent in February in its fifth month in the red, the metal's longest stretch of monthly declines in 16 years, as an improving economic picture dulled gold's safe-haven appeal.
As speculators exited gold, Asian users seized the opportunity to buy the material at cheaper prices.
"When prices are below $1,600, demand from jewellers has recovered a little, though investors are either selling or sitting on the sidelines," said Dick Poon, general manager of Heraeus Metals in Hong Kong.
The onshore gold prices in China, the world's second-largest gold consumer after India, stood at about $20 above spot gold, attracting bargain seekers.
"We see huge orders from China, which are even bigger than the size of buying before the Lunar New Year," said a Singapore-based dealer.
Demand from Indonesia was also robust, thanks to a stronger rupiah that kept domestic prices low.
"The amount of buying from Indonesia in February almost doubled from January," said the Singapore-based dealer.
In Hong Kong, a main conduit for gold flow into China, premiums on gold bars were little changed from a week earlier at $1.50-$1.80 an ounce over spot prices.
In Singapore, premiums were steady at $1.20 an ounce, but could rise next week as a result of higher
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