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LONDON: Gold soared Friday to a new record above $1,470 per ounce, and silver topped $40, as investors sought safety amid fears over the weak dollar, high inflation, Middle East unrest and eurozone debt.

The precious metal hit $1,473.07 an ounce at 1045 GMT on the London Bullion Market, extending this week's blistering record run.

At the same time, gold's sister metal silver struck 31-year highs at $40.27 an ounce.

"Precious metal prices are currently being driven by the weak US dollar and inflation risks, partly because of high oil prices," said Commerzbank analysts wrote in a research note to clients.

Gold, whose two main drivers are jewellery and investment buyers, is widely regarded as a safe haven in times of economic and political uncertainty.

The metal also won solid support this week as debt-ravaged Portugal

submitted a formal request for a multi-billion-dollar bailout from the European Union.

"The latest short-term boost was driven mostly by persistent softness in the dollar and renewed concerns over indebted members in the eurozone," added VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011

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