PRECIOUS-Gold hovers near 2-1/2 month high as investors seek safe haven refuge

BENGALURU, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched higher early on Tuesday, hovering near a 2-1/2 month high hit in the previous session, as risk averse investors sought a safe haven amid rising political tensions and economic uncertainty.


* Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,227.76 an ounce at 0114 GMT. On Monday, it touched a peak of $1,233.26, the highest since July 26.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,231.20 an ounce.

* Asian stocks bounced modestly on Tuesday, gaining a toe-hold after a week of heavy losses, although increasing tensions between Saudi Arabia and the West fanned geopolitical concerns and capped gains.

* Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a botched interrogation, CNN and the New York Times said on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump speculated “rogue killers” may be responsible.

* The U.S. government closed the 2018 fiscal year $779 billion in the red, its highest deficit in six years, as Republican-led tax cuts pinched revenues and expenses rose on a growing national debt, according to data released on Monday by the Treasury Department.

* U.S. retail sales barely rose in September as a rebound in motor vehicle purchases was offset by the biggest drop in spending at restaurants and bars in nearly two years.

* The European Central Bank will end its bond-buying programme in less than three months, with a low likelihood of an extension despite a cocktail of political and trade concerns, economists unanimously said in a Reuters poll.

* China will soon host a huge trade fair to highlight its commitment to free trade and show off its willingness to import, but sceptical foreign businesses and diplomats say they want to see concrete policy changes to improve market access.

* The Italian cabinet on Monday signed off on an expansionary 2019 budget, boosting welfare spending, cutting the retirement age and hiking the deficit to set up a showdown with authorities in Brussels over compliance with EU rules.

* Poland raised its gold holdings to the highest in at least 35 years, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Monday.

* Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.55 percent to 748.76 tonnes on Monday.

0130 China Consumer prices Sep

0130 China Producer prices Sep

0600 Germany Import prices Sep

0900 Germany ZEW economic sentiment Oct

0900 Euro zone Eurostat trade Aug

0900 Euro zone ZEW survey expectations Oct

1315 U.S. Industrial production Sep

1400 U.S. NAHB housing market index Oct (Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru)