July 1, 2020 / 7:36 AM / a month ago

India gold prices hit all-time high as virus spike lifts safe-haven demand

FILE PHOTO: A salesman shows a gold necklace to customers at a jewellery showroom in Ahmedabad, India, Oct. 25, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Gold prices in India hit an all-time high on Wednesday, tracking a global rally, as surging coronavirus cases in many countries raised the metal’s safe-haven appeal.

Local gold futures hit an all-time high of 48,871 rupees ($646.66) per 10 grams in early trade, taking their gains to 25% in 2020 so far. The contract had gained nearly 25% in 2019.

However, this dampened the retail demand for gold in India, the world’s second largest consumer of the precious metal.

“Retail demand is negligible. Buyers are postponing purchases anticipating a correction in prices,” said a Mumbai-based bank dealer with a bullion importing bank.

In thin trade, dealers were offering a discount of up to $22 an ounce over official domestic prices on Wednesday afternoon, up from the last week’s $18. The domestic price includes a 12.5% import tax and 3% sales tax.

The country’s gold imports in May plunged 99% from a year earlier as international air travel was banned and jewellery shops were closed amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

In overseas market, spot gold firmed near an eight-year peak on Wednesday, as a spike in coronavirus cases in the United and States and many other countries has cast a shadow on hopes for a quicker global economic recovery, driving inflows into safe-haven assets. [GOL/]

According to a latest Reuters tally, the coronavirus has infected more than 10.48 million people worldwide so far.

($1 = 75.5750 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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