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 :
Gold .999/10 grams 29,229 29,438
Silver .999/kg 53,245 53,924 ($1 = 54.3350 Indian rupees)