November 20, 2019 / 3:40 PM / 15 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold little changed after Fed minutes, trade tensions lend support

 (Recasts, adds analyst comment, updates prices)
    * 'Phase One' U.S.-China trade deal may not be completed
this year
    * Fed minutes from October meeting show rates on hold

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Brijesh Patel
    Nov 20 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Wednesday in the wake
of the release of the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's
October meeting, while report of a delay in U.S.-China "phase
one" trade deal offered support to the safe-haven metal.
    The minutes showed the central bank remains on hold with
regard to the direction of interest rates, as an increasingly
divided Fed offered little guidance on what would cause
policymakers to change their minds on the outlook.             
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,471.90 per ounce
as of 03:20 p.m. ET (2020 GMT).
    U.S. gold futures        settled unchanged at $1,474.20.
    "We had news on U.S.-China trade deal, which pushed gold
positive before the minutes. This might be the new information
that the Fed has not taking into account probably voided out
what they said in the minutes," said Bob Haberkorn, senior
market strategist at RJO Futures.
    "Had that U.S.-China news not come out before the Fed
announcements, gold would have been at least $10-$15 down. Right
now the market wants more information on U.S.-China trade to
move in either direction," he added.
    Reuters reported that completion of an initial U.S.-China
trade deal could slide into next year as Beijing presses for
tariff rollbacks. It cited trade experts and people close to the
White House.             
    Earlier in the session, the U.S. Commerce Department
confirmed it has begun issuing licenses for some U.S companies
to supply non-sensitive goods to Huawei.             
    "Gold price action lately has been nearly formulaic: the
market starts to lean one way, gets disappointed in the price
action, and a contrary headline gives it a shove in the opposite
direction," said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals
derivatives trading at BMO.
    The mood in markets had been sour after the U.S. Senate
angered China by passing a bill requiring annual certification
of Hong Kong's autonomy and warning Beijing against violently
suppressing protesters. China demanded the United States stop
interfering in its internal affairs and said it would retaliate.
            
    U.S. President Donald Trump also threatened to raise tariffs
on Chinese goods if a trade deal is not reached soon.
            
    Uncertainty surrounding the "phase one" trade deal prompted
world stocks to fall from a 22-month peak, with Wall Street
firmly in the red.            
    Elsewhere, silver        was up 0.1% to $17.15 an ounce,
while platinum        gained 0.8% to $917.10. Palladium was up
       0.2% to $1,767.24.

 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Brijesh Patel in
Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Nick Zieminski)
  
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