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Gold futures ease on stronger rupee

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Gold futures in India edged down on Monday on a stronger rupee, though premiums stayed on the higher side due to lack of supplies.

* At 2:53 p.m., the most-active gold contract for February delivery was 0.27 percent lower at 28,477 rupees per 10 gram on the Multi Commodity Exchange.

* Silver for March delivery was down 0.07 percent at 43,975 rupees per kg.

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

* Premiums stayed steady at $140 an ounce on London prices.

* "There has been no pick-up in demand, they (suppliers) have ample gold for exports, but nothing is available for domestic," said Bachhraj Bamalwa, director at the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.

* Indian gold imports may fall 70 percent in the final quarter of 2013 from 255 tonnes in the year-ago period and are expected to be half the usual levels at 500-550 tonnes next year if new import rules are maintained, a top trade body official said.

* To curb a rising trade gap, the Indian government slapped a record import duty of 10 percent, and tied imports for domestic consumption with exports.

* India will keep a tight leash on gold imports despite a recent improvement in its trade deficit and lobbying by a bullion industry struggling with high premiums and a supply crunch.

(Reporting by Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)