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Gold prices steady as U.S.-China trade deal doubts linger

By Diptendu Lahiri
FILE PHOTO: Gold bars and coins are stacked in the safe deposit boxes room of the Pro Aurum gold house in Munich

By Diptendu Lahiri

(Reuters) - Gold held steady on Tuesday, after hitting its highest since Nov. 7 earlier in the session, as doubts about a trade deal between the United States and China dented risk sentiment.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,471.90 per ounce as of 0559 GMT.

U.S. gold futures inched up 0.07% to $1,472.90 per ounce.

"We're not seeing any big moves at the moment and given the proximity to the $1,490-level, movements will be sideways in the short term, unless Beijing or Washington come and say that a trade deal is unlikely," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Asian share markets were mixed as another day awaiting clearer news on the progress of the trade negotiations left investors bereft of trading motivation.

Overnight, CNBC had reported the mood in Beijing was pessimistic about the prospects of sealing an agreement.

"The to and fro between the two parties surrounding the first phase of the deal is keeping prices in a tight range," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

"Lingering global economic scenario and a weaker dollar is providing some support to gold."

The dollar held near a two-week low.

Market participants also kept a close eye on the unrest in Hong Kong, with dozens of protesters in the financial hub staging a dramatic escape from a university campus sealed off by police on Monday.

Gold is considered a safe store of value during economic or political uncertainties.

The focus now shifts to minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, due on Wednesday.

The Fed cut rates three times this year — in part to offset what it views as damage done by the tariff war. But after their meeting in October, policymakers signalled they would lower rates no further unless the economy took a serious turn for the worse.

"It is worth noting that recent gains (in gold) have been led by fast-money interest in the face of (exchange traded fund) ETF outflows, positioning that is fickle amid price volatility," according to MKS PAMP.

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.6% to 891.79 tonnes on Monday from Friday.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.6% to $17.12 per ounce, while palladium fell 0.3% to $1,732.93 per ounce.

Platinum advanced 0.5% to $898.10 per ounce.

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Uttaresh.V)