Gold price tops $1,700 as investors seek refuge

NEW YORK (AP) ? The price of gold is streaking past $1,700 an ounce for the first time.

Investors, beset by worries about the U.S. debt downgrade, Europe’s financial crisis and slowing global growth, are seeking safety in the metal.

Standard & Poor’s on Friday cut the long-term credit rating for the U.S. by one notch to AA+ from AAA, deepening investor fears about a weakening U.S. economy. A debt crisis in Europe threatens to destabilize financial markets. Stocks are tumbling around the globe Monday.

Gold has shot up more than 3 percent, or $50 per ounce, in Monday morning trading. It has nearly doubled in price since the start of 2009.

Still, adjusted for inflation, an ounce of gold remains below its 1980 peak of $850, or $2,400 in today’s dollars.