The largest exchange traded fund following gold prices rose to a new all-time high Thursday as investors continued to fret over the Eurozone debt crisis and uncertainty over the U.S. debt ceiling.

SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) pared earlier gains and was flat for the session at last check after setting a new record high.

It has more than $60 billion in assets and is among the gold ETFs that have given retail investors a way to own and trade gold. They have also fueled speculation in the yellow metal, according to some reports. [Gold ETFs Look for Breakout to New Highs.]

Gold bugs say that the precious metal has plenty of room to run before a real peak will be hit.

“Current gold prices should be seen as a buying opportunity in the gold and silver markets,” Julian Phillips, publisher of the Gold Forecaster newsletter, said in a client alert. “Gold and silver will not simply be a profit opportunity, but one of the few places where wealth, as it was valued yesterday, will not only hold, but grow its value, tomorrow.” [Gold ETFs Reclaim 50-Day Average on Safety Trade.]

Uncertainty over the U.S. debt limit may be driving interest in safe havens. Moody’s this week said it has placed its triple-A rating on U.S. government bonds on review.

Markets have been volatile this week as the Federal Reserve and chief Ben Bernanke try to manage expectations over further quantitative easing, or “QE3.” If the Fed again loosens monetary policy, it could drive the dollar down further.

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