Gold slumped Monday to the lowest point in nearly five and a half years, weighed down by the strong dollar and reports of massive selling in China, dealers said.
The precious metal tumbled to $1,072.35 in Asian deals, striking the lowest point since February 11, 2010, and breaching the key psychological barrier of $1,100.
"The price slide was triggered by high selling volumes on the gold exchange in Shanghai," said Commerzbank analysts in a research note to clients.
Dealer Nick Rose, at trading firm TradeNext, agreed that the latest price drop was sparked by Chinese sellers offloading large quantities of the metal.
Gold had already slid Friday on the back of the strong dollar, which soared last week after US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen reaffirmed expectations of an interest rate hike by year-end.
A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies. That tends to dent demand and, in turn, pull prices lower.
Gold was also hit by news that China's official gold reserves rose almost 60 percent over the past six years, according to the first official data on the subject since 2009.
The central People's Bank of China (PBoC) said bullion holdings rose to 1,658 tonnes as of the end of June, from 1,054 tonnes in April 2009, the last time a figure was released.
China is the world's largest producer of the yellow metal, but the 57-percent pace of increase marked a slowdown in gold accumulation after holdings jumped 75 percent from 2003 to 2009.
"Markets have commenced the week with an unexpected start following a spectacular drop in gold during the Asian session that sent the yellow metal to a new milestone five-year low," added analyst Jameel Ahmad at traders FXTM on Monday.
"Gold dropping so sharply is a surprise and while the reports that China gold reserves were half the expected level might have inspired additional selling pressure, it is the repeated comments of commitment from the Federal Reserve that they will begin raising US interest rates at some point this year that have continuously pressured gold in recent months."
Other precious metals also forged multi-year lows on Monday.
Silver dived to $14.54 per ounce, the lowest level in nearly six years.
Platinum sank to a six-year trough at $946.25 an ounce, while sister metal palladium slid to $603.95 per ounce -- last witnessed on November 11, 2012.
In addition, gold has lost ground in recent weeks from receding fears over the Greek debt crisis.
The metal is traditionally regarded by many investors as a safe store of value in times of economic or geopolitical turmoil.
"Disappointing Chinese gold holdings and the continued strength of the dollar has seen the price of gold fall," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at online stockbroker Interactive Investor.
"Once perceived as the ultimate safe haven asset, investors continue to shun precious metals and invest in the dollar as their preferred sanctuary from volatile markets."
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