Gold slid more than 1 per cent on Monday as a rise in equities and a firmer U.S. dollar dented the metal's safe-haven appeal after an agreement was reached to curb Iran's nuclear programme, and as technical selling intensified.
Bullion was also weighed down by fears of an early end to U.S. stimulus measures and as holdings in the biggest bullion-backed exchange-traded fund suffered the biggest drop in three weeks.
After a quiet morning session, spot gold fell as much as 1.1 per cent to $1,229.44 - its lowest since early July - in late afternoon trading.
Selling picked up rapidly around 0600 GMT as prices dipped below the $1,235 level and as U.S. gold futures fell about $12 to $1,225.70 in a matter of seconds.
Silver also fell more than 1 per cent.
"Recently, risk-partiality has increased following gains in assets such as equities," said Chen Min, a precious metals analyst at Jinrui Futures in Shenzhen. "We believe that investors will lose interest in gold and rush to risky assets."
Asian share prices rose on Monday following the Iran deal, which lifts some crippling sanctions including trading in gold and other precious metals, while Brent crude fell more than $3 a barrel as supply fears eased.
STIMULUS FEARS LINGER
Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund and the best measure of investor sentiment, fell 4.50 tonnes to 852.21 tonnes on Friday, their lowest since February 2009. That was the sharpest drop since Nov. 1.
Investors fear the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin rolling back its monthly bond purchases, known as quantitative easing (QE), as early as next month on the back of strong U.S. economic data.
"The bears are still in control," said one Hong Kong-based precious metals trader. "The key driver is QE tapering, with markets eyeing some action at the December or January meeting."
The U.S. central bank's $85 billion in monthly bond-buying has boosted gold prices in recent years as it increases the metal's appeal as a hedge against inflation.
Traders were also watching developments in the East China Sea, after Japan and the United States sharply criticised China's move to impose new rules on airspace over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Tokyo.
Any escalation in tension could increase gold's safe-haven appeal and push up prices, traders said.