Spot silver surged more than 5 percent to just above $49 ounce on Monday, buoyed by a weak dollar and strong physical demand in Asia that also propelled gold to a record high for a seventh consecutive session.
U.S. silver futures jumped 8.2 percent to $49.82 an ounce in unusually large trading volume, just about 50 cents off its all-time peak of $50.35 hit on Jan. 18, 1980.
"Everyone is buying," said a Hong Kong-based dealer. "There is stop-loss buying, as well as a good buying interest from China."
Spot silver hit a 31-year high of $49.25 an ounce, and was trading at $48.82 by 0643 GMT. It was heading for its biggest daily gain in five months.
Silver prices have climbed nearly 60 percent so far this year, after jumping more than 80 percent in 2010, outpacing gold's 7 percent rise and the 10-percent gain in the 19-commodity Reuters-Jefferies CRB index.
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