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LONDON: Gold rose on Friday, trading near its all time peak, as a sliding dollar and dire economic numbers from far and wide sparked a rush to safety in bullion, which is on course for its biggest monthly gain in over four years. Silver climbed 2% to $23.94 per ounce, on course for a monthly rise of 33%, its largest on records going back to 1982, supported by investment and industrial demand.

Spot gold gained 0.5% to $1,969.22 per ounce by 10:56 am EDT (1456 GMT), while US gold futures rose 0.9% to $1,985.00. Prices hit a record $1,980.57 on Tuesday and are up over 10% so far this month, their biggest monthly percentage gain since Feb. 2016.

"The macro environment still remains very positive and prices continues to track real rates ... extreme weakness in the dollar has helped buoy gold prices further," said Standard Chartered analyst Suki Cooper. Adding to bullion's advance, the dollar was on track for its biggest monthly drop in almost a decade.

Data showed the US economy suffered its biggest blow since the Great Depression in the second quarter due to the pandemic, while investors also geared up for an uncertain political situation in the country. Bullion has gained nearly 30% so far this year, propelled by low interest rates globally and widespread stimulus from central banks adding to support for the metal considered a refuge from inflation and currency debasement.

"With policy rates already at or even below the zero bound, support to gold prices will increasingly have to come from higher inflation, in our view," said BofA Global Research, which expects gold to hit $3,000 per ounce in the coming 18 months. Money managers allocated $3.9 billion into gold, the second largest weekly inflow ever, the bank said. Elsewhere, platinum eased 0.4% to $899.27 per ounce, and palladium rose 0.5% to $2,092.60.