* China curbing gold imports in bid to limit yuan outflow
* China gold premium at $28-$30/oz this week
* India discount up to $5
By Sethuraman N R and Rajendra Jadhav
BENGALURU/MUMBAI, Dec 9 Gold premiums in China
held near three-year highs this week amid fears of limited
supply of the precious metal, while demand in India remained
subdued despite lower prices due to a severe cash crunch.
The import curbs may be part of China's efforts to limit
outflows of the yuan after the currency's slide to its weakest
in more than eight years, traders said. China allows only 13
banks to import gold, including three foreign lenders, according
to the Shanghai Gold Exchange.
"The news on import restrictions is keeping the premiums
high and there has been no real demand," said Ronald Leung,
chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.
Gold was sold in China at about $28-$30 an ounce above the
international spot benchmark this week, traders said.
Premiums went above $30 in November, the most since January
2014, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Spot gold is on track for its fifth consecutive week
of declines on rising expectations of a rate hike by the U.S.
Gold demand in India remained subdued despite a drop in
prices as retail demand was squeezed by cash crunch, while
jewellers were delaying purchases expecting a fall in prices
Dealers in the world's No.2 consumer of the metal were
offering a discount of up to $5 an ounce this week over official
domestic prices that include a 10 percent import tax, compared
with a discount of up to $4 last week.
Indian gold prices fell to 27,700 rupees per 10
grams on Friday, the lowest level since Feb. 8.
"Everyone is running business with limited inventory.
Jewellers are waiting for correction in prices and want to see
how demonetization pans out," said Daman Prakash Rathod, a
director at MNC Bullion, a wholesaler in south Indian city of
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi scrapped 500 and
1,000 rupee banknotes, or 86 percent of the value of cash in
circulation, in part of a crackdown on corruption, tax evasion
and militant financing.
Indian jewellers rely on the wedding season for an uptick in
demand during winter months after the end of key festivals such
as Diwali, but this year wedding demand has fallen sharply due
to cash crunch, jewellers said.
India's overseas purchases of gold could halve to 50 tonnes
in December after jumping to the highest level in 11 months in
In Hong Kong and Singapore sellers offered premiums of
between $1-$1.50 an ounce. Discounts in Tokyo remained at 50
cents this week.
(Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by