Gold edged lower on Monday, pressured by a stronger dollar after elections in France and Greece cast doubts on whether the euro zone will be able to battle the debt crisis.
The euro hit a three-month low against the dollar, and the greenback rose to a three-week high versus a basket of currencies, making dollar-priced commodities less attractive to buyers holding other currencies.
Socialist Francois Hollande ousted Nicholas Sarkozy in the French presidential election and Greece's pro-bailout ruling parties suffered big losses, sending the message that the new governments might push back German-led austerity measures seen crucial to solving the bloc's debt crisis.
Though sluggish US jobs data on Friday to a certain extent added to hopes for more monetary stimulus, which would benefit gold as an inflation hedge, analysts said imminent quantitative easing is unlikely.
"We really need to see economy much weaker before the central bank steps in," said Dominic Schnider, head of commodity research at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore.
"For now the market is in risk aversion mode. With inflation threat out, oil prices coming off and QE hurdles really high in developed economies, gold is in a vulnerable position."
Spot gold inched down 0.2 percent to $1,638.45 an ounce by 0328 GMT, off the low of $1,626.50 hit on Friday. U.S. gold lost 0.4 percent to $1,639.30.
Activities in Asia's physical gold market slowed down, with buyers moving back to the sidelines after picking bargains when prices dropped below $1,630 last week, dealers said.
"We see a little physical buying today, but the uncertainty in the euro zone after the leadership changes in France and Greece keeps buyers cautious," said a Hong Kong-based dealer.
Speculators raised long bets in gold to the highest level since early April in the week of May 1, but reduced their silver net long positions to the lowest level since early January, the data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said.