(Updates prices) * U.S. Senate widely expected not to remove Trump from office * Gold range-bound in $1,465-$1,480 level- analyst * China unveils new list of tariff exemptions on U.S. goods * SPDR Gold Trust holdings rise By Eileen Soreng Dec 19 (Reuters) - Gold eased on Thursday as optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade ties offset support from political uncertainty stemming from the U.S. House of Representatives' vote to impeach President Donald Trump. Spot gold dipped 0.1% to $1,474.34 per ounce as of 1326 GMT. U.S. gold futures were unmoved at $1,478.20. "We do have optimism over the phase one trade deal," said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga. "Until we have anything new in the picture, gold is going to continue trading within a tight range ... Resistance (lay) around the $1,480 level and support around $1,465." China on Thursday announced a new list of import tariff exemptions for six chemical and oil products from the United States, days after the world's two largest economies announced an interim trade deal. Until all existing tariffs are fully rolled back, concerns about slowing global growth are going to remain a major theme supporting gold prices, Otunuga added. The tariff dispute has weighed on economic growth worldwide and hurt business investment and confidence, largely fuelling bullion's near 15% rise this year. Investors also kept a close eye on political proceedings in Washington, where the Democratic-led House of Representatives formally charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a historic step that will inflame partisan tensions across a deeply divided America. However, the Republican-controlled Senate is widely expected not to convict Trump and remove him from office. If the U.S. Senate convicts Trump, "which would be unexpected, that throws next year's election into a very uncertain place," Ilya Spivak, a senior currency strategist at DailyFx said, adding the resultant aversion towards riskier asset could benefit gold. The yellow metal is often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty. Although the reaction to the impeachment was largely muted, world stocks drifted down from the week's record highs, while the U.S. dollar eased slightly against a basket of currencies. Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.3% to 883.29 tonnes on Wednesday. Elsewhere, palladium was flat at $1,922.63 an ounce. Prices of the autocatalyst metal hit an all-time peak of $1,998.43 on Tuesday, within a whisker of breaking above $2,000 for the first time due to a gaping supply deficit. Silver was down 0.2% at $16.97 per ounce, while platinum slipped 0.5% to $930.75. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans and Alexandra Hudson)
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