The price of gold early Monday rocketed to within $2 of a record high $1,900 per ounce before settling back to 1 percent gain over Friday's closing price.

The metal's catapult into the stratosphere was boosted by a host of global economic worries drove investors into the security of the world's oldest form of money.

Gold hit $1,898.60 in electronic trading on the CME Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 2.5 percent from Friday's closing price of $1,869.10 per ounce.

Expectations that a much-anticipated speech Friday by the head of the U.S. central bank will signal a third round of the Fed buying Treasury assets, evidence last week that the U.S. is dangerously close to a double-dip recession, a sense that euro zone leaders can't decide whether to drop weak members or push hard for a thorough-going financial union as well as efforts by Switzerland and Japan to lower their currencies' value hoisted the price of the yellow metal.

There has been a heavy round of speculation that the Fed could be pushed (into another round of) quantitative easing sooner than thought, as there haven't been any signals of a possible economic recovery, said Pradeep Unni, senior analyst at Richcomm Global Services in Dubai.

With gold being the only safe haven ... which cannot be intervened (in), investors are left with very less choice other than jumping into the chase, despite being late, said Unni.

The more the Fed tries to stimulate the U.S. economy by buying U.S. government bonds the more the central bank risks inflation, which is catnip for investors in gold, so far this year up 33 percent.

Gold is still the safe haven, and as long as people fear recession in the U.S. and euro-zone debt problems, gold remains in demand, Peter Fertig, owner of Quantitative Commodity Research Ltd. in Hainburg, Germany, told Bloomberg. More U.S. asset purchases would be bullish for gold. Increasing liquidity will lead to higher future inflation, which is a reason to buy gold.

On the spot market the price of gold jumped to $1,865.71, with platinum and silver also posting gains.