A downgraded credit rating for the United States has lifted gold prices to record levels.
For the first time ever, gold prices exceeded $1,500 an ounce on April 19. The spike came a day after Standard and Poor's latest outlook on America's long-term debt, which went from "stable" to "negative." Standard and Poor is one of three major financial agencies that rate the ability for nations to repay their debt.
The price of gold has steadily increased in recent months as many Americans have shifted their focus to wealth protection amidst a shaky economy and tumultuous activity overseas. Standard and Poor's dour forecast was the latest hit in a steady stream of events casting doubt on the stability of the U.S. dollar.
Carlos Sanchez, the director of commodities management at CPM Group, a market research organization, told CNN that gold prices could reach as high as $1,550 in the next couple of weeks. The May deadline for the government to raise the debt ceiling will likely have a significant impact on the precious metals market.