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

Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Brijesh Patel

(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

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)