Indian gold futures inch lower in narrow band trade

Gold futures in India were a touch lower in rangebound trade amid thin demand, but still hovering near the keenly watched 30,000-rupee ($550) mark, largely mirroring global markets.

Traders expect local demand to pick up after mid-April when jewellers start stocking for Akshaya Tritiya -- the second most auspicious gold buying day after Dhanteras -- which falls on May 13.

* India, the world's biggest buyer of gold, has been trying to trim such imports as it battles a record-high current account deficit. In January, it raised the import duty on gold, which it called a dead investment, by 50 percent to 6 percent.

* "Demand is very thin. This is because it is the fiscal year-end and most people are busy with tax-saving schemes. Gold trading is also down on local exchanges," said a trader with a state-run bank.

* At 0840 GMT, the most-actively traded gold for April delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) was lower by 141 rupees at 29,552 rupees per 10 grams, after closing at 29,693 rupees on Friday.

* Gold was little changed at $1,607.96 an ounce by 0711 GMT after earlier hitting $1,602.59, its weakest since March 19.

* The rupee was a touch stronger against the U.S. dollar at 54.14/16 versus 54.33/44 close on Friday. The rupee plays an important role in determining the landed cost of the dollar-quoted yellow metal.

* Silver for May delivery on the MCX was 0.13 percent lower at 54,090 rupees per kg.

* The following were the prices of gold and silver in rupees as of 1.15 p.m. local time in the spot market, quoted by Punjab National Bank

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