PRECIOUS-Gold eyes record high as safe-haven demand thrives

    July 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices extended gains on Monday,
just $3 shy of an all-time high, driven by U.S.-China tensions
and a weaker dollar, while expectations of more stimulus to
revive pandemic-hit economies lifted the metal's appeal as an
inflation hedge.
    * Spot gold        was up 0.8% at $1,916.91 per ounce by
0030 GMT, was just $3.39 shy of record high hit in September
2011 at $1,920.30. U.S. gold futures        rose 0.8% to
    * U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took fresh aim at
China last week, saying Washington and its allies must use "more
creative and assertive ways" to press the Chinese Communist
Party to change its ways.             
    * The White House and Senate Republicans have reached "an
agreement in principle" on the next coronavirus relief bill, a
White House official said on Sunday.             
    * Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures
from central banks because it is widely viewed as a hedge
against inflation and currency debasement.
    * The dollar index        fell 0.1% to a near two-year low
against its rivals, making gold less expensive for holder of
other currencies.       
    * U.S. stock futures slipped and Asian stocks were on the
defensive in early Monday trade as tit-for-tat consulate
closures fanned worries about further tensions between the
world's two largest economies.            
    * More than 16.13 million people have been reported to be
infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 644,836​ have
died, according to a Reuters tally.             
    * Speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX
gold and silver contracts in the week to July 21, the U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.
    * Physical gold rates flipped to a discount in India last
week as local prices surged while China's discounts slipped
further on weak retail demand.         
    * Silver        jumped 1.3% to $23.04 per ounce, platinum
       rose 0.9% to $922.50 and palladium        climbed 0.8% to
1230   US       Durable Goods             June
1400   US       Consumer Confidence       July

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry