Gold importers in India retreated after picking up bargains last week as prices steadied on Monday, when the harvest festival started in the world's biggest buyer of bullion.

The harvest festival in India is a period during which demand for gold from rural areas goes up due to higher disposable income from sale of agricultural goods. Weddings are also slated to begin later in the month and continue until May.

"The market is slow compared with the previous week due to the holiday mood," said Ketan Shroff, director with Penta Gold, a Mumbai-based wholesaler. "If prices go down from here, there will be more buying."

Gold for February delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) was 0.03 percent lower at 30,781 rupees per 10 grams on Monday, as firm overseas leads were offset by a stronger rupee in the domestic market.

Global gold edged up after a sharp correction in the previous session, buoyed by a stronger euro and physical buying from China. The rupee, which strengthened on Monday, plays an important role in determining the landed cost of the dollar-quoted yellow metal.

Silver rose 0.44 percent to trade at 58,455 rupees per kg.


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