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imageHANOI: Gold prices in Vietnam, Asia's fourth-largest consumer of the metal, dipped 0.5 percent to the lowest in nearly three weeks on Thursday in line with a fall of international spot prices and the central bank resuming gold supply this week.

The spot selling price eased to 37.97 million dong ($1,800) per SJC-branded tael (37.5 grammes/1.21 ounces) at 0657 GMT in Ho Chi Minh City, nearing the 37.88 million dong-level touched on Aug. 23, according to state-run Saigon Jewelry Co .

The Ho Chi Minh City-based firm is the manufacturer of Vietnam's only brand permitted for domestic transactions of gold, which has long been a popular investment option for Vietnamese. The central bank tightly controls the local gold market to try to stabilise dollar/dong exchange rates.

On Thursday it held its first gold auction this month and drew 15 bidders, including banks and gold trading firms, from 13 parties in the previous tenders. Buyers have snapped up 19,900 taels out of the 20,000 taels on offer, based on central bank data released to Reuters.

The auction, used to cool domestic demand, was held twice or three times weekly between March and the end of August.

International gold prices fell more than 1 percent to the lowest level in four weeks on Thursday, as hope grew that a U.S strike on Syria could be avoided and on expectations the US Federal Reserve would start to unwind its monetary stimulus soon.

Copyright Reuters, 2013

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