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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Soaring gold price reaches $603
gold bars
China and India have a strong appetite for gold
Gold prices are continuing to climb amid investor belief that it offers better returns than shares or bonds.

Gold futures for June hit $603.10 an ounce in early trade on Friday, its highest level since January 1981, after breaching the $600 mark a day earlier.

Analysts are predicting that metal prices will continue rising as demand from places such as China and India outstrip supply.

Prices have now surged almost 30% since the start of November.

Safer investment

Other commodities such as oil, copper, zinc, silver and sugar have also risen recently because of greater interest from investors.

Copper also hit a record high of just under $6,000 a tonne in Friday trade.

Oil has risen following concerns over supplies prompted by geopolitical tension, notably in Nigeria and Iran.

Silver, meanwhile, hit a 22-year high, awaiting the launch of an upcoming silver exchange-traded fund planned by Barclays Global Investors.

Investors think metals are a sounder investment than shares, bonds or currencies, because of uncertainty about whether interest rates or inflation will increase.

Capacity today remains relatively scarce, helping to fuel higher prices, as investing to develop new mines was expensive and largely unviable in the 1990s.

This recent gold rush comes after two decades of little investor interest in the metal. In 2001, gold prices fell to a 25-year low of $255.




SEE ALSO:
Gold price passes $600 an ounce
06 Apr 06 |  Business
Gold price reaches 25-year peak
31 Mar 06 |  Business
Silver price reaches 22-year peak
30 Mar 06 |  Business
Soaring gold continues to shine
05 Dec 05 |  Business
Rush for gold as price hits $530
09 Dec 05 |  Business
Platinum prices hit 25-year high
10 Nov 05 |  Business



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