India offers gold discounts as price fall propels buying elsewhere
Gold was sold at a discount in India as demand remained subdued for a fourth straight week while buying in the rest of Asia picked up as prices fell for a third consecutive week.
"Many consumers are busy in paying advance tax. Since this is last month of the fiscal year, they have to pay taxes by March end," said Ashok Jain, proprietor of Mumbai-based wholesaler Chenaji Narsinghji.
India's fiscal year runs from April to March.
Dealers in India were offering a discount of up to $3 an ounce over official domestic prices, compared with a premium of $2 last week. The domestic price includes a 10 percent import tax.
"Retail demand is very weak. Despite the correction in prices, consumers are showing little interest in buying," said Harshad Ajmera, the proprietor of JJ Gold House, a wholesaler in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.
In the local market, gold was trading at 30,405 rupees per 10 grams, after hitting a 15-month high of 30,839 rupees last month.
India's gold imports in February dropped a quarter from a year ago to 63 tonnes as higher prices curtailed demand in the world's second-biggest consumer of bullion, provisional data from precious metals consultancy GFMS and bank dealers showed.
Weddings and Akshay Tritiya festival, when buying gold is considered auspicious, could lift demand in April, Ajmera said.