New Delhi: Buoyed by the rising demand ahead of the marriage season and diversion of funds by investors to bullion on falling equities, gold prices on Wednesday crossed the psychological level of Rs 26,000 per 10 grams for the first time ever.

Continuing its five-day long rising streak, the metal added Rs 214 to Rs 26,055 per 10 grams in the national capital on the back of strong global cues, where the precious metal touched record high levels.
Gold of 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity advanced by Rs 215 each to Rs 26,055 and Rs 25,935 per 10 grams, respectively. However, sovereigns shed Rs 100 to 20,900 per piece of eight grams.
In New York, gold rose to an all-time high of USD 1,782.50 an ounce, after the Federal Reserve, seeking to bolster the economy, pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low through at least mid-2013, boosting demand for the metal as a haven investment.

Besides, a rising trend in the futures trade here and buying by retailers to meet the marriage season demand further influenced the sentiment.
Market experts said the spurt in demand for gold is mainly due to US credit rating downgrade and a faltering economy, which boosted the demand for protection of wealth.

Maximum upsurge in prices was seen after Standard and Poor's announcement of downgrading the US credit rating from AAA to AA+, which spurred a rout in global equities and stoked concern that the US may lapse into another recession, they added.

In contrast, silver lost support at existing high level and lost further ground.
Silver ready fell by Rs 800 to Rs 58,100 per kg and weekly-based delivery shed Rs 1,200 to Rs 57,400 per kg.

However, silver coins spurted by Rs 2,000 to Rs 66,000 for buying and Rs 67,000 for selling of 100 pieces on account of festive season demand.