NEW YORK (Commodity Online): Gold is setting its price at historic records even as European nations led by Greece are in the grip of a huge debt crisis. On Tuesday, gold futures on Comex surged to hit a record high of $1,232.50 an ounce. This is the first time in the history of bullion trading that gold has zoomed to touch this level.

What is driving up gold price these days? How long will it go? Here are two reports on the historic march of gold price:

By Jim Wyckoff of Kitco NewsComex gold futures Tuesday afternoon hit a new all-time record high of $1,232.50 an ounce. The previous record high of $1,227.50, basis nearby futures, was set in December of 2009.

Gold continues to benefit from safe-haven buying interest amid the European Union's sovereign debt crisis, and on building bullish technical momentum. With gold prices now in uncharted territory, traders should look for higher volatility both on the upside and on the downside, but with a continued upside bias.

By Jim Wyckoff, contributing to Kitco News;

By Kate Gibson & Sue Chang, MarketWatch SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Gold futures settled at a record high on Tuesday and then sped past $1,233 in late electronic trading, as the long-term implications of the European Union's rescue package and its impact on the euro lured investors into assets often prized as a safe haven.

The rise reflects doubts about whether fringe euro-zone economies can reduce debt as well as lingering concerns about a possible contagion, said Ross Norman, a gold trader at

Record-setting in gold contrasted with the lukewarm performance of U.S. stocks, which largely failed to hold gains, and a drop in oil prices.

Gold for June delivery, the most active contract by volume and open interest, added $19.50, or 1.6%, to close at $1,220.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold for May delivery, the front-month but more thinly traded contract, also rose $19.50, or 1.6%, to $1,219.90 an ounce by the end of floor trading.

Both settlements were records. On Dec. 3, the front-month contract at the time settled at $1,217.40 and the February contract, then the most active, closed at $1,218.30 an ounce, according to exchange records.

Relief over the EU's nearly $1 trillion plan to back debt-strapped nations in the euro zone waned as investors weighed the impact of pumping more cash into the global economy, already awash in liquidity as major countries have held benchmark rates at record lows. Some investors fear increasing government outlays will weigh on the value of currencies, making hard assets more valuable.

Might the euro zone states now sell gold at all-time highs to help settle government debt today? asked Adrian Ash, head of research at

Not likely, he added. Even at today's prices, selling the euro zone's entire stock of gold wouldn't cover the first 440 billion in euros they've pledged to each other in cross-border loan guarantees.

Over the top: $1,233 As U.S. stocks gave up modest gains in the last hour of trading and the euro fell further, gold futures piled on more gains.

Gold for June delivery rose to $1,235.20 an ounce in electronic trading, topping the Dec. 3 intraday high for a most active contract of $1,227.50 an ounce.

Gold for May delivery rose to $1,233.5 an ounce, passing the Dec. 3 front-month intraday high of $1,226.40 an ounce.

Gold exchange-traded funds and mining stocks rallied, outpacing the broader market.

SPDR Gold Trust's /quotes/comstock/13*!gld/quotes/nls/gld (GLD 120.45, -0.21, -0.17%) shares gained 2.6%. Newmont Mining Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!nem/quotes/nls/nem (NEM 58.40, +0.20, +0.34%) shares jumped 4.9%, while the U.S. shares of Iamgold Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!iag/quotes/nls/iag (IAG 19.90, +0.29, +1.48%) advanced 10% and Eldorado Gold Corp. /quotes/comstock/13*!ego/quotes/nls/ego (EGO 17.93, +0.27, +1.53%) rallied 9.1%.