Strike up the band, because there’s (seemingly) one less thing to worry will spark a trade war (for now): the renminbi!

US President Donald Trump’s administration has staged a retreat from an aggressive policy pledge to label China a currency manipulator for devaluing its currency in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. The US Treasury’s new secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said on Thursday it would proceed with the normal process of determining whether China was manipulating its exchange rate “as we have in the past, and we’re not making any judgments until we continue that process.”

The offshore renminbi exchange rate, incidentally, is currently flat at Rmb6.8486 per dollar, or 1.8 per cent stronger against the greenback since the start of 2017.

In Asia Pacific equities, Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 index is down 0.2 per cent in morning trade. Futures tip Tokyo’s Topix index to open 0.3 per cent lower and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index to inch 0.1 per cent higher when trading begins.

Corporate earnings out today include AIA Group, Standard Chartered, Brightoil Petroleum, Axiata Group, UOL Group and Nine Dragons Paper.

The economic calendar for Friday knows when to hold them, as well as when to fold them (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08.30: Taiwan unemployment rate
  • 15.00: Singapore industrial production
  • 15.30: Thailand foreign reserves
  • Macau Q4 GDP and Vietnam consumer inflation are also due out today.

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