Indian gold importers await price direction

Gold importers in India awaited direction in prices as the yellow metal continued to tread water for the sixth session, on a day when the central bank recommended more import curbs.

* After a 50 percent import duty hike to 6 percent on Jan. 21, the Reserve Bank of India recommended putting curbs on imports on Wednesday, along with launching gold-linked products to limit shipments.

* The actively traded gold for April delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) was 0.08 percent higher at 30,623 rupees per 10 grams, after trading in a 30,510-30,910 price range in the past five sessions.

* "The market is silent as there is hardly any movement in prices," said Harshad Ajmera, proprietor of JJ Gold House. Weddings and the festive season have started in India, the world's biggest buyer of the metal.

* The rupee, which fell slightly on Wednesday, plays an important role in determining the landed cost of the dollar-quoted yellow metal.

* In the overseas markets, gold retreated below $1,670 an ounce as caution ahead of a European Central Bank meeting pressured the euro versus the dollar, and as a recent brighter tone to economic data boosted the appeal of other assets, such as stocks.

* Silver for March delivery on the MCX was 0.32 percent lower at 58,171 rupees per kg.

* The following were the prices of gold and silver in rupees as of 16.14 p.m. local time in the spot market, quoted by HDFC Bank :

Wednesday Tuesday

Gold .999/10 grams 30,53030,635

Silver .999/kg 59,68059,863

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