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Gold soars to record high on global fears

Gold hit new highs in Asian trading late Monday as stock markets slumped and the dollar struggled.

Gold futures jumped to $1,718 an ounce, a record high and up 4.2% from Friday’s closing price of $1,648.80 in New York. The metal now is up 21% year to date.

Aussiegold Silver also surged, rising $2.01 to $40.23 an ounce. But silver remains well below its peak of $48.58 reached in April, after frenzied buying in the first four months of the year gave way to a steep sell-off.

Investors continued to pour into precious metals on fears about the global economy and financial system. Gold has soared for five straight weeks.

The European Central Bank on Sunday pledged to ramp up purchases of euro-zone governments’ bonds, hoping to head off a deeper debt crisis on the continent.

Meanwhile, a feared sell-off in U.S. Treasury bonds failed to materialize in Asia, despite credit-rating firm Standard & Poor’s decision on Friday to downgrade America’s debt to AA+ from AAA.

Treasury bond yields fell modestly as buyers continued to step up.

Gold and silver were helped by the dollar’s weakness, although there was no sign that the U.S. currency was in a freefall.

The euro rose to $1.434, up 0.4% from $1.428 on Friday. The dollar fell 0.7% to 77.83 yen from 78.40 on Friday, and hit a new record low against the Swiss franc.

But the buck gained against the Australian dollar, the South Korean won and the Indian rupee.

-- Tom Petruno

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Photo: Australian gold coins at the Perth Mint. Credit: Ron D'Raine / Bloomberg News

 
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