Gold prices were down marginally in futures trade today as investors pared long bets. At the Multi Commodity Exchange or MCX, gold futures prices for delivery in February this year were down 38 or 0.12% to 31,610 per 10 grams in a business turnover of 1,568 lots. Similarly, the metal for delivery in far-month April was trading 47, or 0.15%, lower at 31,698 per 10 grams in 167 lots. Besides global price and 10% import duty, gold prices in India is determined by the dollar-rupee exchange rate. A depreciation of the rupee increases the domestic price of gold.

On the downside, gold has support at 31320-31400 levels, domestic brokerage Religare Broking said.

The rupee today fell against the US dollar in early trade on rising crude prices and some demand for the American currency from importers. The rupee opened weak at 69.83 at the interbank forex market against its previous close of 69.68 per dollar. Currently, it was trading at 70.04 a dollar.

In global markets, gold prices remained steady as investors bet on a pause in US interest rate hikes and hopes of a China-US trade deal put pressure on the dollar. Spot gold was little changed at $1,287.70. It hit a more-than 6-month peak at $1,298.42 on Friday. US gold futures eased slightly at $1,288 per ounce. “A weakening dollar and falling U.S. Treasury yields should keep gold pushing higher," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

On Friday, US central bank chief Jerome Powell told the American Economic Association that the Fed was not on a preset path of rate hikes and it would be sensitive to the downside risks markets were pricing in.

Gold typically gains when expectations of interest rate hikes ease because lower rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar, in which it is priced. Analysts remain positive on gold for this year, expecting a slower pace of rate hikes from the US Fed and slower global growth.