Gold prices climbed over 3 percent today, as the market digested the 11th-hour deal reached Wednesday to end the US government shutdown and avoid a catastrophic debt default.a Bullion traders bought gold in heavy volumes Thursday, running the spot gold price up to $1,323.20 as of 1:04 pm in New York, an increase of $40.50 since yesterday's close of $1282.70. On the Comex market, December gold futures were changing hands at $1,321,50, up $39 from yesterday. MINING.com reported that by 1 pm EST,athe number of December gold contracts traded had exceeded 180,000, already 10 percent more than average daily volumes. Comex attributed gold's rise to technical short covering. The US dollar also stumbled on Thursday, boosting gold's appeal. The major gold miners followed suit, with several experiencing gains in their share prices. At the close of trading in New York, Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX, TSX:ABX), was up 4.9 percent, Goldcorp (NYSE:GG, TSX:G) surged 3.7 percent, Newmont (NYSE:NEM) gained 4.5 percent, and African Barrick Gold (LSE:ABG) added 2.7 percent. Reuters said the deal, under which Republicans and Democrats agreed toafund the federal government through January 15, andaallowed the Treasury to increase the nation's borrowing authority through February 7, essentially kicked the can down the road as far as any "taper" of quantitative easing. Gold has been buffeted in recent months over statements by the US Federal Reserve that it may scale back its $85 billion a month bond-purchase program, but Wednesday's debt deal now makes it unlikely the Fed will decrease the purchases until at least the beginning of the new year. "The U.S. debt deal is seen (as) positive for gold by market participants, for good reason, since the whole mess is just being postponed by 3-4 months, which makes a reduction of Fed asset purchases rather unlikely for the time being," Reuters quoted Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch, as saying.