Gold topped $1,400 an ounce, extending a rally to a record, on investor demand for an alternative to currencies. Silver reached a 30-year high, and palladium climbed to the highest price since 2001.
On the Comex in New York, gold futures rose to a record $1,410.40 yesterday as the euro dropped after concerns mounted that governments in the region will struggle to pay debt. The metal has jumped 28 percent this year, heading for the 10th straight annual gain.
"No one wants to hold currencies now," said Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago.
"The big money is looking at gold as an alternative asset."
Gold futures for December delivery traded at $1,409.40 as of 4:30 p.m. in New York after gaining $5.50, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $1,403.20 in regular trading.
Gold for immediate delivery jumped as high as $1,410.60, a record.
Ireland is seeking support from the European Union this week to avoid a Greek-style bailout as investors shunned buying the country’s bonds. Gold reached a previous record in June when investors were concerned that Greece would go bankrupt.
"Gold will benefit from any sovereign-debt fallout," said Matthew Zeman, a metal trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago. "Gold is going to continue to be bought on dips because no one believes the dollar can stage a significant rally."
Last week the greenback dropped against a basket of major currencies to the lowest level since December after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would buy $600 billion in bonds to support the economy.
"The debt load that countries are carrying makes people want to go into gold," Zeman said.
Precious metals will benefit as China invests in more commodities, Klopfenstein said. The country has become the world’s biggest market for commodities-futures trading, Jiang Yang, the chairman assistant of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said at a conference in Guangzhou on Saturday.
Silver futures for December delivery rose 68.4 cents, or 2.6 percent, to settle at $27.432 an ounce on the Comex.
In after-hours trading the price reached $27.735, the highest level for a most-active contract since March 1980.
Palladium futures for December delivery gained $25.50, or 3.7 percent, to $710.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier the metal reached $713.95, the highest level since April 2001. Platinum futures for January delivery rose $2.20, or 0.1 percent, to $1,771.10 an ounce.