MUMBAI Gold importers in India, the world's biggest buyer of the metal, refrained from stocking up as they sought price direction ahead of the wedding and festival season, after prices steadied near their lowest level in a week.
* The wedding season will begin by mid-January and continue until May. Festivals will also take place during this period.
* The actively traded gold for February delivery was 0.04 percent higher at 30,807 rupees per 10 grams, after firm overseas markets outweighed a stronger rupee. The contract hit a low of 30,721 rupees, a level last seen on January 4.
* The rupee, which traded stronger against the dollar, plays an important role in determining the landed cost of the dollar-quoted yellow metal.
* Gold in the overseas market edged up, with investors eying a key resistance level just above $1,660 an ounce and awaiting a rate decision by the European Central Bank at its policy meeting later in the day.
* "Buying has slowed down considerably since the statements from the finance minister. There is not much of stocking as most of them have already done based on their capacity," said a dealer with a private bullion importing bank in Mumbai.
* India could raise import duty on the yellow metal from the current 4 percent, as part of measures to contain a record high current account deficit. The central bank has also recommended limits on value and volumes of gold imports.
* Silver edged 0.25 percent higher to 58,115 rupees per kg.
(Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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