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Silver Will Rise to $50 on Demand, Supply Drop, Hightower Says

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Silver prices will rise to $50 an ounce before the end of this year on increased global demand and declining inventories of the metal, said David Hightower, president of the Hightower Report in Chicago.

Record gold prices will shift consumer demand to jewelry made from the cheaper silver, especially in India, Hightower said today at a R.J. O’Brien & Associates LLC client conference in Chicago. Investors also will boost purchases of silver to hedge against inflation, he said.

May silver in New York has more than doubled in the past year to $35.935 an ounce yesterday. Silver inventories held in warehouses for delivery against New York futures fell last week to the lowest since August 2006.

“We should see silver demand increase and we will reach my $50 objective this year,” Hightower said. “Silver production is not keeping up with demand.”

Hightower also said natural gas prices may double by the end of the 2011 and could triple by the middle of 2012 on reduced production. Natural gas prices are just above the cost of production, and producers will reduce output as the discount to crude oil boosts demand, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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