* Gold down 1.5% for the month
* Silver set to post best week since early Nov., up 8%
* Palladium on track for biggest monthly decline since April
* Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: tmsnrt.rs/3mvcUoa (Adds analyst comments, graphic, updates prices)
Jan 29 (Reuters) – Silver rose more than 4% on Friday following a near 5% gain on Thursday that came after messages on Reddit urged retail investors to pile into the market in an attempt to push prices higher.
Precious metals were also helped by a retreat in equities as hedge funds and retail investors continue to battle over valuations and European countries fight over COVID-19 vaccine supply, with gold up more than 1%.
Silver surged as much as 7% on Thursday after calls circulated on Reddit for people to buy silver mining stocks and iShares Silver Trust, an exchange traded fund (ETF) backed by physical metal, in a GameStop-style squeeze.
Some mining stocks surged and trading of iShares Silver Trust rose sharply, while some silver traders covered short positions to avoid being caught by rising prices.
Sustained buying of silver ETFs could lift silver prices by making its operator buy more metal to back its shares, but most analysts think the surge in retail interest will have little long-term impact.
“We are confident that the influence of retail investors on silver will not last all that long, and that ultimately industrial and institutional demand will be the key factor in the longer term,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said in a note.
He said that demand for silver and gold would anyway remain strong as investors sheltered from risks including turmoil on financial markets by buying the metals typically seen as safe stores of value.
By 1309 GMT on Friday spot silver was up 3.9% to $27.39 an ounce and up 8% this week, its biggest weekly gain since early November.
Spot gold, meanwhile, rose 1.4% to $1,865.20 per ounce. U.S. gold futures rose 1.6% to $1,867.40.
But gold was down about 1.5% so far this month, on track for its worst January since 2011, on a resilient dollar.
Platinum rose 2.2% to $1,093.91, while palladium fell 0.4% to $2,326.53.
Reporting by Asha Sistla and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru, Peter Hobson in London; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Jan Harvey