Gold and silver prices hit record high

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The Independent Online

The prices of gold and silver have hit new record highs as continued tensions in the Middle East and North Africa drive investors to safe-bet investments.

Gold rose to 1,518.30 US dollars (£918.70) an ounce at one stage during morning trading in Europe before falling back, while silver briefly hit an all-time high of 49.79 US dollars (£30) an ounce.



Investors have turned to precious metals as a haven against recent turmoil in Libya, Syria and Yemen, while rating agency Standard and Poor's downgrade to the outlook for US debt also triggered a flight to safety.



The US dollar has also been under pressure since the S&P blow - which stripped its rating to negative from stable - further fuelling the rise in gold prices.



The record gold and silver prices are expected to boost mining stocks when the London market reopens tomorrow following the holiday weekend.



Gold, a traditional safe haven, has soared in value in recent years as investors have been spooked by economic uncertainty.



Gold eased back at the start of the year after a run of positive economic data, but has since bounced back due to gloomy global developments.



Violence and political uncertainty in North Africa and the Middle East continued to escalate today.



In Libya, forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi unleashed a barrage of shells and rockets at the western city of Misrata following a bloody weekend.



Elsewhere, in Syria, troops in armoured vehicles and tanks have stormed the southern town of Daraa and opened fire, according to witnesses, in the latest crackdown on a five-week uprising against President Bashar Assad's authoritarian regime.



In Yemen, two protesters were killed in separate anti-government demonstrations, despite President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreeing yesterday to a proposal for him to hand power to his vice president.

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