Silver prices touched a 30-year high Monday, breaching $30 an ounce as inflation-fearing investors sought the safety of precious metals.

In a 60 Minutes interview last weekend, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. government may buy more bonds in a third round of quantitative easing to attempt to cut unemployment.

Last week, the U.S. Labor Department said November's unemployment rate rose to 9.8% from 9.6% in October while the U.S. private sector added just 50,000 jobs, about a third of what analysts forecasted.

But the idea of more quantitative easing is controversial. The Fed drew plenty of criticism for its Nov. 3 decision to buy $600 billion worth of bonds, and government officials -- and many others -- continue to debate the merits of that second round of qualitative easing.

Precious-metal prices have been rising all year as investors look for a safe haven from currency volatility. Silver for March delivery rose 1.6% to close at $29.74 an ounce Monday.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Socially Responsible Investing

Invest in companies with a conscience.

View Course »

Introduction to ETFs

The basics of Exchange Traded Funds and why ETFs are hot.

View Course »