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Precious metals were the best performing asset class for the second successive year. According to new research by Lloyds TSB, in 2010 investors enjoyed a return of 42% from precious metals. Continued uncertainly over the prospects for the global economy contributed to the increase in the price of precious metals as investors sought to maintain the value of their investments.

Silver outperformed the other precious metals in 2010 with prices rising by 80%; more than two and a half times the increase in gold prices (29%) and four times the rise in the value of platinum (20%). In addition to its position as a safe haven investment, pressures on the supply side and high demand for industrial uses contributed to the strong rise in the price of silver. Silver continued to shine brightest into 2011 with prices rising by 9.3% over the first two months of the year.

Precious metals have also recorded the highest return over the past decade (365%), followed by residential property (198%) and commodities (176%).

Suren Thiru, economist at Lloyds TSB, commented:
"It is unsurprising that precious metals were the top performing asset class in 2010. Investors looked to protect the value of their investments amid the renewed uncertainty over the global economic outlook including the debt concerns in the Eurozone and rising inflation. Silver continues to outshine gold and platinum with the relatively low value of silver providing greater scope for larger gains as well as offering investors similar benefits to those of gold.”

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