Russia's central bank - which accounted for 30% of official gold purchases since 2010 - sold 12K ounces of the metal in September, the first sale in a year, according to IMF data. "Gold really doesn't have much to offer," says commodity analyst Joe Murphy in one of those quotes you never hear at tops. "People are seeing better opportunities, whether that be in bonds or equities."
Central banks have a dubious track record with gold, and were regular sellers for years up until 2009, and became net buyers in 2010 - particularly the emerging market central banks. Thomson Reuters GFMS sees central banks as cutting back gold purchases by 34% this year - so while they're not buying as aggressively, they're certainly not becoming net sellers yet. Contrarian bulls need to stay patient.