• Nicholas Larkin, Bloomberg.com
After the worst January for precious metals in two decades, investors still have a $102 billion bet on higher prices, hoarding more gold than all but four central banks and more silver than the U.S. can mine in almost 12 years.
The five analysts ranked by Bloomberg as the most accurate over two years expect silver to rise as much as 23 percent before the end of 2011 and gold 20 percent, the median of their estimates show. UBS AG predicts the strongest industrial demand for silver since at least 1990 and the second-highest sales of exchange-traded gold products on record.
The decade-long surge in gold attracted fund managers from John Paulson to George Soros and is now spurring central banks to add to their reserves for the first time in a generation. Once written off as demand for photographic film waned, silver found new uses in everything from solar panels to plasma screens, making it the precious metal most used in industry. As stocks rose 9 percent and Treasuries returned 6
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