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If you thought it couldn’t get any worse for ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye, you were wrong.

Ms Park was arrested on Friday after a Seoul court issued a warrant in connection with the corruption and abuse-of-power scandal that ended her presidency.

Facing at least 13 charges, Ms Park is accused of letting a now-jailed confidante, Choi Soon Sil, meddle in state affairs and gain unauthorised access to classified documents, while colluding to extort donations from businesses for two foundations under Ms Choi’s effective control.

The lead-in from US and European stocks is broadly positive, with the Nasdaq having closed at a record level and the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of international peers, back above 100 after an upward revision to US Q4 GDP data. Oil prices also built on gains from prior in the week and the pound (briefly) moved back above the $1.25 mark.

In Asia Pacific Equities, Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index is down 0.1 per cent in early trading, while futures tip Tokyo’s Topix index to rise 0.7 per cent at the open and the Hang Seng index is expected to notch a 0.1 per cent climb when trading starts in Hong Kong.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Bank of China, Yingde Gases, Gemdale, Poly Culture, Baoxin Auto, Yanzhou Coal and Beijing Enterprises.

The economic calendar for Friday is capping off the week with a bang (all times Hong Kong):

  • 07.30: Japan jobless rate, consumer price inflation
  • 07.50: Japan industrial production
  • 08.00: Australia private sector credit, ANZ business confidence index
  • 09.00: China manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMIs
  • 12.00: Japan vehicle production
  • 13.00: Japan housing starts, construction orders
  • 15.30: Thailand current account balance, foreign exchange reserves, imports, exports and trade balance
  • Philippines bank lending data is also expected out some time today.

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