Silver: $50 milestone coming 'any day now'

silver pricesClick the chart to view more commodity prices. By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Silver prices have doubled during the past six months, and are now within spitting distance of $50 an ounce, a key level for the precious metal.

Early Monday morning, silver prices surged 8% to $49.82 an ounce. That was just shy of the $50.35-an-ounce intraday record hit in January 1980, but higher than the all-time high closing price of $48.70 per ounce set 31 years ago.

As the trading session went on, prices pulled back from the lofty levels, with silver finishing the day up 2.4% to settle at $47.15 an ounce.

"The metals are getting a lot of attention right now," said Terry Hanlon, president of Dillon Gage Metals, a precious metals trading firm based in Dallas. "We'll run right through $50 per ounce for silver any day now, and two months from now, we won't even remember it as a benchmark."

Gold prices also continued to shine in record territory, rising 1% to hit a fresh intraday high of $1,519.20 an ounce before settling up 0.4% at a record close of $1,509.10 an ounce.

Both gold and silver, which is often called the poor man's gold, have taken on the role of currencies as the dollar loses its luster and inflation fears run wild, said Hanlon. He expects gold to top $1,700 an ounce and silver to reach $75 an ounce within a year.

"This is a huge safety play," he said. "Investors can't sit on their cash anymore because the value of the dollar keeps deteriorating. To offset that, they're parking money in precious metals."

The dollar index, which measure the greenback's value against a basket of currencies, has fallen more than 6% in 2011.

A number of factors are driving investors away from the dollar and toward safe- haven investments such as gold and silver. Among the reasons are deficit problems in the United States and Europe, and rapidly rising food and commodity prices, especially in emerging markets.

Ongoing political tensions across the Middle East and North Africa also have investors on edge.

"As long as these problems continue to simmer and occasionally surface, we'll see more safe-haven demand from investors for precious metals," said Jeffrey Nichols, managing director at American Precious Metals Advisors.

Nichols, who considers himself to be particularly bullish, says gold prices could reach $3,000 an ounce within the next few years, as silver prices double to nearly $100 an ounce.

But those levels won't come without major hiccups -- 10% to 20% short-term pullbacks -- along the way.

And, when adjusted for inflation, gold and silver prices still have a long way to go. Gold rose to $825.50 per ounce on Jan. 21, 1980, which is $2,238.74 in today's dollars, according to the government's CPI inflation calculator. Meanwhile, silver's inflation adjusted price peaks at $136.55 per ounce in today's dollars. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.41%4.44%
15 yr fixed3.33%3.31%
5/1 ARM3.34%3.55%
30 yr refi4.39%4.41%
15 yr refi3.31%3.30%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,446.59 21.74 0.13%
Nasdaq 4,106.55 20.32 0.50%
S&P 500 1,868.19 5.88 0.32%
Treasuries 2.73 0.09 3.38%
Data as of 1:52pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.22 0.09 0.56%
Facebook Inc 59.78 0.06 0.10%
General Electric Co 26.71 0.59 2.26%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.14 0.11 0.50%
Micron Technology In... 23.66 1.18 5.27%
Data as of 1:38pm ET

Sections

Federal authorities said he knew the spill was larger than reported and dumped $1 million in stock about a week after the incident began. More

Obama's proposed budget would raise $1.4 trillion more revenue and increase noninterest spending by $446 billion more than current policies, the CBO said in a new analysis. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.