(Bloomberg News) Gold will probably top $2,000 an ounce by year-end amid surging investor demand, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Prices will rise to a peak of $2,038 before Dec. 31, based on the average of 16 respondents in a Bloomberg survey at the London Bullion Market Association's annual conference in Montreal. Next year, gold will rally as high as $2,268, according to the average in the survey.

Gold has surged 25 percent this year, touching a record $1,923.70 in New York on Sept. 6. The metal climbed as escalating debt woes in Europe and the prospect of faltering U.S. growth boosted demand. Today, gold futures for December delivery advanced $4.80, or 0.3 percent, to $1,783.70 at 9:13 a.m. on the Comex in New York.

"This is largely a crisis of confidence, and gold is a safe haven," Rujan Panjwani, the president of Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd., said in an interview at the conference. "I see little chance of gold falling."

Gold is in the 11th year of a bull market, the longest winning streak since at least 1920 in London, as investors seek to diversify away from equities and some currencies. Holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by the metal have jumped 31 percent in the past two years, reaching a record 2,260.5 metric tons on Aug. 8.

The Federal Reserve has kept U.S. borrowing costs at a record low near zero percent and conducted two rounds of asset purchases, or so-called quantitative easing, in a bid to boost growth. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's government will hold another call with its main creditors after a "productive" round of talks aimed at staving off default.

'Bullish Environment'

"We're going to continue to be in a bullish gold price environment for the next five to seven years," Richard O'Brien, the chief executive officer of Newmont Mining Corp., said in an interview at the 2011 Denver Gold Forum in Colorado Springs. "It's going to take that long for people to get their fiscal house in order."

Gold prices may have already peaked this year, and won't climb higher than $2,000 in 2012, according to Dipankar Basu, a manager and dealer at the State Bank of India.

"If we see signs that the U.S. and European economies are improving, we will see a sharp correction, and we could see that within maybe six months," Basu said in an interview in Montreal.