PRECIOUS-Gold firms as markets await more details on trade deal

 (Updates prices)
    * Palladium eases; far from record high of $1,998.43/oz
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns:

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    Dec 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices held firm on Thursday as
investors awaited further developments on U.S.-China trade,
while political uncertainty in Washington failed to move markets
across the board.
    Spot gold        was up 0.3% at $1,479.87 per ounce by 2:29
p.m. EST (1929 GMT). U.S. gold futures        settled 0.4%
higher at $1,484.40 per ounce.
    "The market is on hold waiting for the next piece of
impetus," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High
Ridge Futures.
    "There is an acceptance by the market that this trade deal
is officially signed and also that there isn't going to be any
quick jump (from either side) ... Changes in that expectation
will see changes in the market." 
    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.             
   The 17-month-long trade dispute has triggered a 15% rise in
gold prices in the year, and fanned global recessionary fears.
    Gold is often used by investors as a hedge against political
and economic uncertainties.
    "The safe-haven metal bulls have shown resilience recently,
amid the keener risk appetite that has been prevalent in the
market place the past few weeks - evidenced by U.S. stock
indexes near record highs," said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim
Wyckoff in a note.
    Investors also kept a close eye on political proceedings in
Washington, where the Democratic-led House of Representatives
formally charged President Donald 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 toward riskier
assets could benefit gold.
    Among other precious metals, palladium        gained 0.6% to
$1,934 an ounce, but was far from Tuesday's all-time peak of
    Platinum        was steady at $935.43 an ounce, while silver
       rose 0.6% to $17.10.

 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Eileen Soreng in
Editing by Matthew Lewis)