Gold futures surged ahead of the expiration of monthly derivatives contracts before cooling off amid lacklustre trade in international markets, as India entered the tenth day of a 21-day lockdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. MCX gold futures rose as much as 5.68 per cent - or Rs 2,443 per 10 grams - to touch Rs 45,800 per 10 grams on the upside in a brief jump in morning, compared to their previous close of Rs 43,357 per 10 grams. The gold futures contract (delivery on April 3) cooled off to settle with a gain of Rs 293 per 10 grams (0.68 per cent) at Rs 43,650 per 10 grams.
According to the India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), a Mumbai-based industry body, the closing rate of gold jewellery stood at Rs 43,936 per 10 grams and silver at Rs 40,310 per kilogram - both excluding Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Gold jewellery prices vary in different parts of India - the second largest consumer of the precious metal - due to factors such as excise duty, state taxes and making charges.
In the international market, gold prices were subdued on Friday as the dollar strengthened, but they were stuck in a narrow range ahead of US nonfarm payrolls data that could provide further clarity on the economic damage from the coronavirus.
Spot gold was down 0.2 per cent at $1,609.42 per ounce by 1049 GMT (4:19 pm in India). The metal has declined nearly 0.5 per cent so far this week, after an 8 per cent jump in the previous week.
Domestic stock markets fell more than 2 per cent on Friday, following a 4 per cent slump in the previous session. The S&P BSE Sensex index ended 674.36 points - or 2.39 per cent - lower at 27,590.95, and the broader NSE Nifty benchmark shut shop at 8,083.80, down 170.00 points (2.06 per cent) from the previous close.
Commodity exchanges last week cut down trading hours, in a shift from the practice of allowing trading till midnight, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. The trading now begins at 9 am and ends at 5 pm, instead of 11:50 pm earlier.
What Analysts Say On Current Gold Rate
Analysts said some upside can be expected in gold prices as the lockdown increases the yellow metal's appeal as a safe haven.
“Gold trades moderately lower near $1635/oz amid firmer US dollar index and some correction in crude oil after yesterday's rise. However, supporting price is disappointing US economic data, bleak growth forecasts, rise in ETF inflows and robust coin and bar sales in US,” said Ravindra Rao, VP-head commodity research at Kotak Securities.
"Gold may witness choppy trade but general bias may be on the upside amid increasing risk from virus outbreak,” he added.