Investors who placed their faith in silver during 2010 will have enjoyed gold-plated returns, the latest research has revealed.
Delivering a return of 42%, precious metals were the best performing asset class for the second successive year in 2010, according to Lloyds TSB.
Faced with continued uncertainty in the global economy, investors turned to the perceived investment safe havens of precious metals in an attempt to maintain the value of their investments.
However, it was silver which outperformed all other precious metals with its price rising by 80%, more than two and a half times the rise in the price of gold (29%) and four times the rise in the value of platinum (20%).
Silver's success has also carried forward into 2011, with prices rising by 9.3% in the first two months of the year.
Precious metals have recorded the highest return over the past decade (365%), followed by residential property (198%) and commodities (176%).
Suren Thiru, economist at Lloyds TSB, said 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."
"Going forward, the level of demand from emerging economies, particularly from China and India, is likely to remain an important determinant of many assets prices as well as the pace at which the global economic recovery continues."
Commodities have been the top performing asset class over the first two months of 2011, providing a return of 7.5%.
Within commodities, cotton has recorded the largest price gain since the start of the year with a rise of 38%.
A combination of increasing demand from Asia and greater supply side pressures after flooding affected some of the major cotton producing countries helped push the value of cotton higher.
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