The problem for gold isn’t just that prices are dropping. For many, the metal also has lost its charisma.

Sentiment means a lot in the bullion market, where only about 60 percent of what gets mined or recycled each year is used in jewelry and industrial applications. The rest is sold as coins or bars, so when demand from investors dries up, there can be painful consequences for the bulls who remain.

Prices will drop to $984 an ounce before January, according to the average estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 16 analysts and traders. That would be the lowest since 2009 and a 10 percent retreat from Tuesday’s settlement. Speculators are shorting the metal for the first time since U.S. government data began in 2006, and holders of exchange-traded products are selling at the fastest pace in two years.

“Gold is out of fashion like flared trousers: no one wants it,” said Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale SA in London. “It’s not going to collapse, but we think it is going to be at a lower level in the not-too-distant future.”

After drifting lower for most of 2015, gold tumbled in July, heading for the biggest monthly decline in two years after slumping to the lowest since February 2010. The retreat shows how the metal has lost its appeal as a commodity and as an alternative to currencies, according to Macquarie Group Ltd. Futures in New York traded at $1,090.90 at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, down 0.5 percent from a day earlier.

Gold’s Cache

Prices are plunging amid mounting speculation that U.S. interest rates will climb this year, curbing the appeal of bullion because it doesn’t pay interest like competing assets. At the same time, China bought less of the precious metal than analysts were expecting, and the dollar is strengthening.

For much of the previous decade, prices were on the rise. Buying picked up after global central banks fought the 2008 financial crisis with unprecedented stimulus, stoking fear of accelerating inflation. Futures gained more than six-fold in 12 straight years of gains through 2012.

An improving U.S. economy spurred a shift in sentiment, driving bullion into a bear market in April 2013. About 60 percent of respondents in a separate Bloomberg News survey of 27 traders and analysts say that the metal will post a third straight annual loss this year. That would be the worst rout since 1998, when gold was last out of favor and languished near a 19-year low.