Gold has recently moved in tandem with riskier assets, instead of as a traditional safe haven
Gold fell by more than 1 percent on Monday, swept lower by a firm dollar and falls in other financial markets as worries deepened about government debt in Europe and the United States.
Gold has moved in tandem with riskier assets in recent months, instead of as a traditional safe haven, over the past few weeks. It could fall further in sell-offs in other markets, as investors liquidate gold positions to cover losses elsewhere as funding dries up in the turmoil.
"It's not behaving the way bulls would like it to behave," said Matthew Turner of Mitsubishi Corp. "There are enormous macro issues in Europe, the US and China and we don't know how it will pan out. It's uncertainty on top of uncertainty, and a lot of people are standing on the sidelines."
As well as fears about Italy and other debt-strapped euro zone countries, attention has turned to the United States, where a bipartisan "super" committee looks set to miss a deficit reduction deadline.
Stocks in Europe fell 2.1 percent to a six-week low, and are more than 17 percent lower for the year. US crude fell more than $2.
Spot gold was down 1 percent at $1,709.10, off an intraday low of $1,701.09. It fell 3.5 percent last week, its largest one-week decline in a month.
On the chart, the 50-day moving average is almost crossing below the 100-day moving average, seen as a bearish technical signal.
US gold was down 0.9 percent at $1,708.8 at 1106 GMT, off an intraday low of $1,704.1.
Technical analysis suggested spot gold could fall toward $1,687 an ounce during the day, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.
Gold could find some support from a World Gold Council's third-quarter demand report showing central bank buying reached nearly 150 tons, far above most analysts estimates.
"Certainly the report would have been very encouraging for gold bulls. Notwithstanding that gold is suffering with risk assets. In the long run we'll see gold performing well but in the short term you'll get these anomalies," Ross Norman, of Sharps Pixley, said.
"You would think with the monumental news we're hearing out of Europe on the economic situation that gold should be running to fresh all-time highs. Gold has these bouts of behaving in a peculiar fashion, and this is one of them."
Still, investment interest in gold remained strong last week, despite the 3 percent price fall, as money managers upped their positions in gold futures and options.
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, reported a rise of 3.631 tons from a day earlier to 1,293.088 tons in its holdings, the highest in more than three months. GOL/ETF
The ETF witnessed an inflow of 24.422 tons last week, the biggest one-week rise in holdings since mid-August.
Spot silver led the decline in the precious metals complex, down 3 percent at $31.46.
China's October silver imports dropped 26 percent on the year, and the total inflow in the first 10 months of the year slumped 28 percent, the official trade data showed.
Platinum imports in October jumped 65 percent on the month to 6,340 kilograms, as platinum prices wallowed in discount over $100 to gold and attracted buying. Year-to-date imports of platinum rose 14 percent on the year to 66,680 kilograms.
Platinum was down 1.6 percent at $1,570.50 and palladium was off 1.8 percent at $596.02.