"MCX Tips India"
Physical demand for gold in India, the world's top buyer, improved on Thursday, following a sharp overnight drop in world prices and on worries the government may raise import duty in the annual budget on Friday.
* The most-active gold for April delivery on the Multi Commodity Exchange was up 0.28% at Rs 27,3 by 3:22 p.m. (1000 GMT), after falling 1.43% in the previous session.
* The contract Rs 27,311 at one stage, the lowest for the front-month contract since January 25.
* "Demand has improved significantly in the past two days. Prices have fallen and there is also concern about import duty hike in tomorrow's budget," said a Mumbai based dealer with a private bank dealing in bullion.
* In January, India raised gold import duty by 90% and doubled the tax on silver as the government grappled with a burgeoning fiscal deficit and looked to increase revenues.
* Demand is also driven by the ongoing wedding season, and festivals that run until mid-May.
* Overseas gold regained some strength on Thursday after a drop in the previous session attracted bargain hunters.