Investors who have helped pushed gold prices up to record highs are now turning their backs on the precious metal, with figures this week showing heavy selling by gold ETFs.
SPDR Gold Shares ETF, the world's largest bullion-backed fund, sold 25.4 tonnes of the metal between Monday and Thursday, according to the Financial Times.
Since the start of December, the ETF's gold holdings have fallen by 44 tonnes - roughly 20% of monthly global mine production of the metal.
In total it has sold about 3% of its physical gold holding, and currently has around 1,282 tonnes remaining.
The sell-off comes after a sharp fall in the gold spot price, which has tumbled from $1,920 back in September, to today's price of $1,645.
The 15% decline has been caused by a renewed appetite for risk assets, as global data picks up - notably in the US - and hopes for a prolonged period of outperformance from equities grows.
Investors are backing shares in Europe in particular to keep rising following the brutal sell-off seen in late 2011.
However, the outlook is far from certain and a return of sovereign worries in Europe - which could this time be sparked by Spain where CDS spreads are rising - could cause a fresh sell-off in markets and spark a retreat to safe havens such as gold.
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