Silver soared to an all-time high on Thursday and gold rose to another record, as a falling dollar and signs that the Federal Reserve would maintain a loose monetary policy boosted precious metals' appeal as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty.
Silver briefly climbed to within a whisker of $50 an ounce, eclipsing the peak hit when Texan brothers William Hebert and Nelson Bunker Hunt sought to corner the silver market three decades ago. The metal later pulled back on technical selling.
Yesterday's speech from the Fed was an acknowledgment of the continuing of the strategy by the Fed and Washington ... to monetize our debt, and basically to devalue the dollar, said Robert Lutts, chief investment officer of Cabot Money Management, which oversees more than $500 million in client assets.
The metal markets are recognizing that and it is being priced in. What monetization means is that, down the road, we will have more inflation, he said.
Spot silver, which has rocketed nearly 60 percent so far this year, rose 1.5 percent to $48.49 an ounce by 12:24 p.m. EDT (1624 GMT), having earlier hit a record $49.51 an ounce.
Adjusted for inflation, however, the current price of silver is still sharply below its record at well above $100 an ounce.
Spot gold rose to a lifetime high of $1,538.35 an ounce, breaking records for the ninth time in 10 sessions. It was later traded at $1,527.87 an ounce, up 0.1 percent.
(Additional reporting by Christopher Kelly in New York, Rebekah Curtis and Amanda Cooper in London and Lewa Pardomuanin Singapore; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)