PRECIOUS-Gold holds steady amid lingering doubts over U.S.-China trade deal

Diptendu Lahiri

* Investors await Fed minutes on Wednesday

* Dollar hovers near two-week low

(Adds comments, details; Updates prices) Nov 19 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Tuesday after hitting its highest in over one-and-a-half weeks, propped up by doubts about a trade deal between the United States and China.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,470 per ounce as

of 0444 GMT. It had hit the highest level since Nov.7 at $1,475.40.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,470.50 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 last policy meeting this year, 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 inched up 0.06 % to $17.03 perounce, while palladium fell 0.2% to $1,733.60 per ounce.Platinum rose 0.2% to $895.84 per ounce.

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