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PRECIOUS-Gold inches up as trade fears weigh on stocks

March 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher early Thursday and hovered near one-week highs hit in the previous session, as concerns over trade tensions weighed on share markets.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,326.71 per ounce at 0108 GMT, towards the top end of a tight range tracked over the past five trading sessions.

* U.S. gold futures for April delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1,327.10 per ounce.

* Stock markets sagged broadly on Thursday while government bonds attracted safe-haven demand amid mounting investor concerns that growing trade tensions could hurt the global economy.

* The dollar edged higher on Wednesday after three straight days of losses, as investors booked profits on their short currency bets, but the outlook remained murky amid political uncertainty in the Trump administration and renewed worries about trade wars.

* U.S. television commentator and conservative economic analyst Larry Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn as President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, adding another loyalist to Trump's inner circle.

* U.S. retail sales fell for a third straight month in February as households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles and other big-ticket items, prompting analysts to downgrade their first-quarter economic growth forecasts.

* Differences over how to deal with North Korea's nuclear challenge were a key factor in President Donald Trump's decision to replace Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state, according to sources familiar with the internal deliberations.

* The European Central Bank needs further evidence that inflation is rising towards its target and will end asset buys only when it is satisfied that price growth is on a sustained path towards its objective, two of the ECB's top officials said on Wednesday.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

1230 U.S. New York Fed manufacturing Mar 1230 U.S. Import prices Feb 1230 U.S. Export prices Feb

1230 U.S. Weekly jobless claims

1230 U.S. Philly Fed business index Mar 1400 U.S. NAHB housing market index Mar

(Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)