Silver lining as metals top of the class again

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Precious metals were the top performing investment for the second consecutive year during 2010 with their value soaring by 42 per cent as people sought a safe haven from inflation.

It was the fourth time in the past five years that precious metals have topped the tables for the best asset class, as continuing uncertainty over the prospects for the global economy caused investors to flock to gold, silver and platinum, according to Lloyds TSB.

The value of precious metals has surged by 365 per cent during the past 10 years, nearly double the increase for the next best performing asset during the same period – residential property which made a gain of 198 per cent.

The steep increase in precious metal prices seen during 2010 was driven by silver, with its value jumping by 80 per cent, significantly outstripping the 29 per cent rise in the price of gold and the 20 per cent increase for platinum.

The group said the price of silver had been boosted by pressure on the supply of the metal, as demand remained high from both investors and industries which use it.

Commodities were the second best performing asset class during 2010, offering returns of 30 per cent, while they were the third best during the past decade, with a 176 per cent increase in value.