(Bloomberg) -- Investors just keep bailing on gold.

In December, $2.27 billion was pulled out of SPDR Gold Shares, the world’s largest ETF backed by the metal. That was a third straight monthly loss and the biggest since May 2013. Money managers have also turned less bullish on bullion, cutting their net-long positions for a seventh straight week to the smallest since February, U.S. government data showed Friday.

Bullion lost favor at the end of last year, posting the worst quarterly loss since June 2013 as equities rallied and the dollar gained amid improving global growth prospects and increasing odds that the Federal Reserve will keep boosting U.S. borrowing costs this year. That’s hurt the investment appeal of gold because it doesn’t pay investors yields or dividends.

"The reality is the trend is not in gold’s favor right now," Bob Haberkorn, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. "You’re fighting the trend if you’re trying to buy gold at this level. It’s going to take geopolitical events or a change in the tone of the Fed on interest rates to push gold higher."

Gold futures for February delivery swung between gains and losses on Tuesday, before settling 0.9% higher at $1,162 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The metal lost 13% in the final three months of 2016.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index entered a bull market, while U.S. equities rallied as data from U.S. to China signaled a strengthening economy. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced.

Hedge funds and other large speculators pared their net-long positions by 23% to 41,247 contracts in gold futures and options in the week ended Dec. 27, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission figures published three days later. That’s the smallest since Feb. 2, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.