Oct 18 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher to near 2-1/2-month high on Thursday as fears of an escalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict kept demand for safe-haven assets intact, with focus also on U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech later in the day.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,950.49 per ounce by 1141 GMT after hitting its highest since Aug. 1 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures eased 0.3% to $1,962.30...[LINK]