Silver Passes $30 for First Time Since 1980

U.S. silver futures rose above $30 an ounce on Monday, gaining more than 2 percent as gold's rally—along with strong demand from momentum traders and retail investors—lifted the metal to its highest level since 1980.

U.S. March silver futures climbed above $30 on the Comex division of the Nymex, having earlier rose as high as $30.085.

Silver, the cheaper alternative to gold, continues to be the standout performer in precious metals. This momentum trade is in full effect after speculators raised their net long positions in silver by 12 percent last week.

Bernanke's suggestion that a sustainable economic recovery could take a while and could see more quantitative easing helped boost silver prices. (Gold, well over $1,400 an ounce, is also less than $10 from fresh nominal high.)

Silver futures have gained almost 70 percent since August, when expectations of more QE were first discussed.

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—Wire services contributed to this report.

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