Japanese Investors Snap Up Gold Bars


". . .but selling persisted in Southeast Asia, which kept premiums under check."

Japanese investors snapped up gold bars after a recent drop in bullion prices; but selling persisted in Southeast Asia, which kept premiums under check, dealers said on Thursday.

Spot gold XAU= has rebounded from a two-week low hit last week but it was still about 3% below a lifetime high of $1,248.95/oz. struck in mid-May. Cash gold firmed to around $1,217/oz. on Thursday. Gold bars were offered at premiums of US$0.50/oz. to the spot London prices in Tokyo, compared with a discount of $0.50 last week—though demand from the electronics sector slowed down a bit after gold regained $1,200. "We can see good buying from the general public. That's why the market is at a premium. The industrial sector was buying gold at below $1,200," said a physical dealer in Tokyo, adding, "The general public still has interest to buy gold and also platinum today."

The World Gold Council said global gold jewelry consumption rose by 43% in tonnage terms in the first quarter to 470.7 tons, led by a sharp rise in Indian jewelry buying, which tumbled last year as prices rose.

India, the world's largest gold consumer, accounts for around 20% of demand for gold used to make jewelry.

India's jewelry demand rose to 147.5 tons from 37.7 tons in the first quarter of 2009, which suggested that the world's largest consumer started to get used to the high prices.

But dealers noted buying from India during the recent wedding season showed slack, signaling some consumers could be waiting for a correction. Gold jewelry forms an essential part of the dowry basket and Indian parents give it to their daughters at weddings for security.

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