Gold futures closed at a record Friday, up 0.8% for the week, and silver marked its highest finish in 31 years, as both metals gained after monthly data showed China’s consumer price index rose 5.4% in March, compared to a year earlier, outpacing forecasts of a 5.3% rise.
June gold closed up $13.60, or 0.9%, at $1,486 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
May silver tacked on 91 cents, or 2.2%, to end at $42.57 an ounce, up 4.8% for the week.
The world’s second largest gold buyer, after India, China has struggled to curb inflation despite aggressively tightening its monetary policy in the past six months. This has forced many investors to seek a safe-harbor for their wealth in gold and silver, which are seen as stores of value.
Traders also kept a wary eye on Europe, where credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Services Inc. downgraded Irish debt by two notches to Baa-3, one level before junk status. The threats of a government debt default by a euro-zone state have been driving gold and silver prices higher over the past year, as investors have sought to refuge from the risk of holding paper currencies.