Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.92%3.83%
15 yr fixed2.99%2.98%
5/1 ARM3.27%3.18%
30 yr refi4.01%3.92%
15 yr refi3.08%3.08%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
Nasdaq 5,127.53 11.39 0.22%
S&P 500 2,090.11 1.24 0.06%
Treasuries 2.22 -0.01 -0.31%
Data as of 2:41pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 30.36 0.00 0.00%
Bank of America Corp... 17.48 0.04 0.23%
HP Inc 12.61 -0.03 -0.24%
Pfizer Inc 32.79 -0.08 -0.24%
Walt Disney Co 115.13 -3.54 -2.98%
Data as of 1:01pm ET


Sumner Redstone, the media mogul who controls Viacom and CBS, is at the center of a legal dispute. One side says he is practically unable to make decisions for himself. The other says he is "engaged and attentive." More

Watsi crowdfunds donations to cover healthcare costs of those in need. And it's seeing a surprising trend: micro-donations via the popular Chinese social networking app, WeChat. More

Hive, a startup funded by the UN, is tasked with getting more Americans engaged with the refugee crisis. More

Facebook just increased the amount of paid time off new dads working at its international offices can take. More