CHART: Gold price vs ETF tonnes shows crash was inevitable

QUICK FACTS: Gold ETFs, the people's central bank

QUICK FAQs: ETFs – the people's central bank

UPDATE: Gold price fall to be probed by market regulators

There has been no shortage of explanations for the ferocity of gold's two-day retreat – from $1,560 at the open on Friday to a low of $1,329 late Monday.

These range from the more out-there arguments  – it's a central bank conspiracy and/or Wall Street market manipulation – to the more mundane: technical breaches, margin calls and a stronger dollar.

But perhaps the crash in the gold price has a really simple explanation; and one that was signaled to investors way in advance.

As the chart shows gold-backed ETF outflows that started early in the new year really took off in February and just accelerated from there.

There was no way gold could hold up in the face of this rapid liquidation by gold's most ardent (former) supporters.

CHART: Gold price vs ETF tonnes shows crash was inevitable

Buying of gold ETFs – fondly referred to as the people's central bank – played a huge part in gold's 12-year bull run.

So perhaps it was a central bank conspiracy after all.

Just not the one you would've expected.