BENGALURU/MUMBAI (Reuters) – Physical gold was sold at a premium in India this week for the first time since mid-August as jewellers stocked up, hoping key festivals would bring customers back to stores.

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

Indians will celebrate Dussehra in late October and Diwali and Dhanteras in November, when buying gold is considered auspicious.

“Industry is banking on festivals for demand revival. Jewellers would be happy even if they manage to sell 50% of the last year,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a bullion importing bank.

Dealers charged premiums of $2 an ounce over official domestic prices, inclusive of 12.5% import and 3% sales levies, versus last week’s $6 discounts. Local gold futures traded around 50,550 rupees per 10 grams on Friday.

“Jewellers have started making purchases for festivals,” said Chanda Venkatesh, managing director of CapsGold, a bullion merchant based in the southern city of Hyderabad.

“Retail buyers have been delaying purchases for the last few months. Jewellers are hopeful they will start buying during the festivals.”

In neighbouring Bangladesh, some people resorted to selling gold with the coronavirus outbreak having shuttered businesses and choking incomes.

“As per our records, around 20,000 families sold ornaments since late March,” said Enamul Haque Khan, president of the Bangladesh Jewellers Association.

Markets in top consumer China were closed for a week-long national holiday that ended Thursday.

Gold was sold at a discount of $30-$32 an ounce on Friday, when markets reopened, said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals.

In Singapore, premiums eased slightly to $0.80-$1.40 an ounce, from $0.80-$1.50 last week. [GOL/]

“Prices have gone up a bit. We did get some inquiries, but

U.S. raw steel production continues to leap on a weekly basis on an improvement in capacity utilization — a key metric in the steel industry. According to the latest American Iron and Steel Institute (“AISI”) weekly report, domestic raw steel production was 1,484,000 net tons for the week ending Oct 3, a 0.3% increase from production of 1,480,000 net tons for the week ending Sep 26. This follows a 2.4% rise on a weekly comparison basis for the week ending Sep 26.

However, the weekly production still trails that of a year ago. Production for the reported week was down 17.7% from 1,803,000 net tons registered for the same period a year ago.

Weekly Utilization Ticks Up

Capacity utilization was 66.6% for the reported week, rising from the previous week’s reading of 66.1%, indicating an improvement in activity. However, it was still well below the key 80% threshold — the minimum rate required for sustained profitability of the industry. Capability utilization rate for the reported week was down from 77.7% a year ago, AISI noted.

Notably, after remaining above the 80% the level in early 2020, capacity utilization rate tumbled to 51.1% in May — the lowest level in many years as the coronavirus pandemic decimated demand across major steel end-use markets. Utilization has started to pick up with a recovery in steel demand from the slump witnessed during the first half of 2020.

Meanwhile, by-region, output from Great Lakes rose roughly 1% on a weekly basis to 531,000 net tons in the reported week. Production in the Southern region slipped roughly 3% to 575,000 net tons in the reported week. Mills in the North East produced 144,000 net tons of raw steel, up around 13% from the previous week. The Midwest region produced 168,000 net tons of raw steel,