Gold futures finished lower in Thursday trade, snapping a five-day win streak as the metal sank behind a U.S. dollar that ticked higher on upbeat U.S. economic data. The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales rose 0.6% in July, just below the consensus forecast for a 0.7% rise, but strong enough to provide fodder to the investing contingent who believe that the Fed is on track to hike rates as soon as September based on relatively strong economic data. That is despite headwinds provided by a shaky economy in China, which had lured haven buyers in gold over the past few days. A rate hike would be a boon to the dollar but a negative for dollar-denominated gold, making it more expensive for buyers in other currencies. Another factor that may be pressuring gold is a Thursday report from the World Gold Council, which said demand plummeted 12% to a six-year low in the second quarter. December gold closed $8, or 0.7%, lower at $1,115.60 an ounce.
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