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Gold edges down, traders eye U.S. job data

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian gold traded a tad lower on Friday, still near the lowest level in ten months, weighed by a stronger rupee, with traders waiting for the U.S. job data for direction in prices before stocking for weddings.

The actively traded gold contract for May delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) was 42 rupees lower at 29,363 rupees per 10 grams at 3.15 p.m., still near the previous session's low of 29,132 rupees, a level last seen on June 1.

"There a few stray deals and people are waiting for U.S. non-farm payroll data," said a dealer with a private bank in Mumbai, which imports bullion.

Strong employment data could prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to end its bullion-friendly bond-buying programme earlier than expected and dent gold's safe-haven appeal as worries about inflation ebb.

Weddings will start in India, the world's biggest buyer of gold, and continue till early June. Festivals will also take place during this period.

India has been trying to curb imports to put a lid on the record-high current account deficit. The federal government raised the import duty on gold, which it called a dead investment, by 50 percent to 6 percent in January.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram suggested on Tuesday that the government was unlikely to raise the import tax on gold further to avoid gold smuggling.

Silver contract for May delivery on the MCX was 0.12 percent lower at 50,895 rupees per kg.

(Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Anand Basu)

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