NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Spot gold prices drifted higher Monday afternoon with a dip early in the session bringing out the bargain hunters amid an uptick in the U.S. dollar and crude oil moving down a notch.
Meanwhile, silver prices continued their ascent against the yellow metal.
"Silver's popularity is clearly spreading," Adrian Ash, head of research at online gold trading and ownership service BullionVault, wrote in a report. "I believe that's due both to the headline-making run in gold bullion prices and to silver's own peculiarities as an investment asset." He also noted that silver, the cheaper metal of the two, experiences greater daily volatility because its market is much smaller.
BullionVault began offering silver bullion to its users in January. In the last month, it has seen new inquiries for silver accounts rise by more than a fifth. Silver demand, Ash said, has leaped by 15.4% in the last month alone, overtaking the yellow metal, as precious-metal dealers report a surge in demand from India to Japan. Ash said silver-backed trust funds are now holding record volumes of the metal on record inflows both in Europe and the U.S.
"Call it a speculative mania if you must, but zero interest rates are forcing otherwise cautious cash savers the world over to seek out hard-asset protection for their wealth. Like gold, silver has a long history as a monetary asset. Plus, it has strong industrial uses, make it an appealing inflation hedge."
On the platinum metals front, Kitco analyst Jon Nadler attributed lower platinum prices to profit-taking and alluded to the fact that palladium has "remained resilient." The latter, a cheaper alternative to platinum, has been a favorite of Nadler's among the metals he tracks.
New York spot gold prices were gaining $6.80, or 0.5%, to $1,353.80 an ounce Monday afternoon.
were drifting further than gold, up 14 cents, or 0.6%, to $23.36.
New York spot platinum prices were falling by $13, or 0.8%, to $1,688 an ounce, while its sister metal was climbing higher.
More on Commodities
New York spot palladium prices were rising by $3, or 0.5%, to $587 an ounce.
A handful of mining stocks and precious metals ETFs were trading in mixed territory Monday afternoon. Mining stocks offer another form of exposure to precious metals.
Stillwater Mining Company
was jumping by 4.9% to $17.41, while
was gaining 2% to $8.64.
North American Palladium
was rising by 2.1% to $4.39, and
was flat at $48.55.
SPDR Gold Trust ETF
was up 0.4% to $132.22 and
ETFS Physical Palladium Shares
was up 0.2% to $58.51.
ETFS Physical Platinum
was down 1% to $167.83.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
>To contact the writer of this article, click here:
>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
Copyright 2010 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.