Mixed day for Asian markets; Australian trade surplus narrows

<p>As expected, Asian stocks were higher today, but the rate of increase left some disappointed, particularly towards late afternoon Asian time. Gains partially offset Friday’s […]</p>

As expected, Asian stocks were higher today, but the rate of increase left some disappointed, particularly towards late afternoon Asian time. Gains partially offset Friday’s losses on most regional indices.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index was 1.2% higher in early afternoon Tokyo trading. There was some relief that things in Europe are progressing but definitely no signs of all out optimism. Regional markets are still fragile.

The USD/JPY remains in a tight trading range, last at around 77.65. Metal markets tell a different story. Copper fell around 1.5% during the Asian session, last trading just below US$3.50/lb. Gold continues to decline, last at US$1691 an ounce and also taking silver down with it to around US$31.67.

Traders are closely watching the outcome of China’s 2012 policy response and comments from NDRC official today saying the inflation rate will rebound slightly in December and January from November’s 4.2% could be interpreted that aggressive loosening isn’t on the cards just yet.

In Australian economic news, October showed the trade surplus narrowing from A$2.56bn to A$1.59bn according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The fall in trade reflects lower demand and pricing on key export commodities, sending the Australian dollar lower by noon, last trading at around 101.66 U.S. cents.

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