Singapore gold bar premiums hit record on tight supply
SINGAPORE, May 29 (Reuters) – Premiums for physical gold in Singapore touched new highs this week as supplies proved hard to acquire, even as premiums in other Asian countries eased after gold prices bounced off two-year lows seen in April.
Dealers in Singapore, a center for bullion trading in Southeast Asia, were quoting up to $7 an ounce over spot London prices for gold kilogram bars, versus $5 last week.
Gold kilo bars continue to be scarce and some dealers, unable to fill demand, have had to stop taking orders.
“Singapore is still facing a shortage. As long as there are no ready stocks, premiums will be high,” said Brian Lan, managing director of bullion dealer GoldSilver Central Pte Ltd in Singapore. “There is a huge backlog.”
“Most mints and refineries have backlogs for kilo bars because of buying by banks and central banks.”
Lan said premiums were high more because of supply issues than a jump in demand, which has cooled from peak levels.
Gold’s biggest drop in 30 years in mid-April to a two-year low of $1,321.35 prompted frantic buying in Asia, even as investors dumped the metal in favour of stocks.
Another Singapore dealer, BullionStar, was charging a premium of 2 percent to spot prices on kilo bars.
“Most of our June allocations, which we have yet to come by, have been fully purchased. The orders we get now, we have to allocate only for July,” said Zane Lim, regional manager of operations at BullionStar.
PREMIUMS EASE ELSEWHERE
Spot gold rose about $3 on Wednesday to $1,383.5, up about 5 percent since the mid-April drop. With rising prices, demand and premiums have eased.
Premiums in Hong Kong ranged between $4 and $5 an ounce over spot London prices, dealers said, off a record high of $6 last week.
“The markets see these prices as the low for the next couple of weeks, so there is not much interest,” said a trader in Hong Kong. “If prices were closer to $1,300, there would be more interest.”
Hong Kong is the key supplier of gold to China, the No. 2 gold buyer after India.
India has also seen premiums ease to below $5 from $15 an ounce earlier this month, as higher gold prices and the winding down of the peak wedding season has curtailed demand. (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)