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Price of silver drops 20 per cent

The price of silver today fell by a massive 20 per cent from Thursday's highest price, as investors decided to cash-in on what had been escalating prices in precious metals.

Silver reached as low as $11.65 an ounce, while gold also sank to $618.20 an ounce late on Thursday, before recovering slightly.

Silver and gold, along with other commodities, had been looking very attractive to investors with returns on them beating those of stocks and bonds, with fund managers showing an interest.

Silver reached a 23-year high of $14.68 earlier in the month and gold has also been looking good, with prices remaining consistently over $600 an ounce.

Zinc and copper have also been performing well.

Despite the sharp drop in prices, investors appear confident that prices will recover and record prices will again be achieved.

In a report today, Jon Bergtheil, a strategist at JPMorgan Chase, sounded optimistic about the precious metals market.

"We expect prices to recover from this trough as investors flock back into dips," he said, but added that he expected the silver market to remain volatile for some time.