Gold rose above $1,430 an ounce Friday, while silver surged 3 percent to 31-year highs, as soaring oil prices fueled by widening unrest in Libya prompted investors to pile into safe havens.
Bullion hit a record high of $1,440.10 an ounce on Wednesday and is on track to post its fifth consecutive weekly gain on fears that Libya's escalating violence could spread across the Arab world.
World stocks and the dollar declined as upbeat U.S. jobs data was offset by mounting economic uncertainty.
"It's really all about oil, and I suspect that's going to be the pattern next week as well. Gold's uncertainty hedge and ultimate currency roles continue to be very much in place," said Bill O'Neill, partner of LOGIC Advisors.
U.S. crude prices jumped to their highest levels since September 2008 and Brent rose above $116 a barrel as Libyan security forces cracked down on protesters in Tripoli and clashed with rebels near the major oil terminal of Ras Lanuf.
The Reuters/Jefferies CRB commodities index, which is heavily weighted in oil, was set to notch its best gains in 13 weeks.
Spot gold hit a high of $1,431.85 an ounce and was up 1.1 percent at $1,430.70 by 12:13 p.m. EST (1713 GMT). Gold fixed at $1,427 in London. U.S. gold futures for April delivery rose $15.80 to $1,432.20.
Gains in gold also lifted silver prices, which climbed to their highest since early 1980 at $35.32 an ounce.
Spot silver gained 3.3 percent to $35.13 an ounce.
The gold-silver ratio, which shows how many ounces of silver it takes to buy one ounce of gold, fell to a 13-year low.
Silver has risen amid a tight physical market and very strong demand for industrial metals as the economy recovers.
"Ultimately, the reasons why silver is going up are related to gold," O'Neill said. "Make no mistake, if gold reverses direction and starts to go to a bear market, silver will follow with a vengeance."
Gold gains accelerated after news that U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 192,000 in February, above market expectations for 185,000 jobs.
While the numbers beat Reuters forecasts, many in the market had privately expected a still stronger number, leading to initial weakness in equities and the dollar.
"The economy is improving, growth could surprise on the upside, but the economic recovery is not producing new jobs as it has in the past, given those growth rates," said Peter Fertig, a consultant at Quantitative Commodity Research.
There is no indication from the jobs data that the Fed could terminate quantitative easing earlier than scheduled, which is going to underpin gold's investment appeal, Fertig said.
The Fed's easy monetary policy, in place since the financial crisis rocked the markets from 2008, has been a major reason for gold's rally to record highs, because it has undermined confidence in paper currencies.
Comments from the European Central Bank on Thursday that stoked expectations that euro zone monetary policy would tighten sooner rather than later had knocked gold sharply lower.
Gold prices hit record highs this week as violence flared in Libya after weeks of unrest in the region.
But interest in investment products such as gold-backed exchange-traded funds slackened. Holdings of the world's largest, New York's SPDR Gold Trust, fell to their lowest since mid-May on Thursday at 1,210.621 tonnes.
Holdings in the world's largest silver ETF, the iShares Silver Trust, rose to 10,794.89 tonnes (metric tons) by March 3, their highest since early January.
Among other precious metals, platinum gained 0.5 percent to $1,832.24 an ounce and palladium eased 0.7 percent to $805.97.
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