• Chinese trade balance climbed to $75.4 billion in November from $58.4 billion in October
  • Japan’s leading indicators climbed to 93.8% in October from 92.5% in September
Base metals
The three-month base metals prices on the London Metal Exchange were mixed this morning, with copper, aluminium and lead down by an average of 0.5%, while the rest were up by an average of 0.3%. Copper was down 0.3% at $7,732 per tonne, but earlier in the day had set a fresh high for the year at $7,800 per tonne.

The most-traded base metals contracts on the SHFE were mainly firmer, the exceptions were the January contracts of zinc and lead that were down by 0.1% and 1.5% respectively, while the rest of the metals were up by an average of 1%, skewed by a 2.3% rise in February nickel, with January copper up by 0.1% at 57,220 yuan ($8,745) per tonne.

Precious metals
Spot gold prices were firmer this morning, up by 0.1% at$1,841.16 per oz, with palladium ($2,362.50 per oz) up by 0.7%, while silver ($23.12 per oz) and platinum ($1,044 per oz) were down by 0.2% and 1.2% respectively.

Wider markets
The yield on US 10-year treasuries has pushed higher, it was recently quoted at 0.95%, up from 0.83% at a similar time last Monday, November 30.

Asia-Pacific equities were also mixed this morning: the CSI (-0.87%), the Nikkei (-0.76%), the Hang Seng (-1.33%), the Kospi (+0.51%) and the ASX 200 (+0.62%).

Currencies
The US dollar index was consolidating this morning and was recently at 90.82, after setting a low of 90.47 on Friday. 

The other major currencies were off recent highs, but remain in high ground overall: the euro (1.2126), the Australian dollar (0.7429), sterling (1.3405) and the yen (104.12).

Key data
In addition to the data highlighted above, German industrial production climbed 3.2% in October, up from 2.3% in September.

Later there is data out on United Kingdom house prices, EU Sentix investor confidence and US consumer credit.

Today’s key themes and views
The base metals on the LME were looking quite mixed, tin and nickel were holding up in high ground, lead was leading on the downside, while zinc, aluminium and copper have just pulled back from recent highs.

Given the strength of sentiment and the upward trends, the positive medium-term outlook and an extremely liquid climate, the overall upward trends could still continue, but in the shorter term prices seem to have run ahead of the fundamentals.

Gold prices have put in a strong rebound off last Monday’s low at $1,765.50 per oz, but prices appear to be consolidating now either side of $1,840 per oz. With broader markets continuing to see strength and sentiment bullish, gold may struggle to trend higher.