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Well, so much for American soft power.

The Trump administration has unveiled a “hard-power budget” plan that includes cuts of about 30 per cent to the state department and Environmental Protection Agency, with cuts of at least 20 per cent for the labour, agriculture and justice departments, 16 per cent for commerce and health and human services and 14 per cent to education.

It also eliminates funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — but faces little chance of being passed by Congress in its current form. Still, the proposal represents the first comprehensive blueprint of the White House’s priorities and a wishlist for how it would finance them.

The dollar continued to fall in wake of Federal Reserve rate decision, but treasury yields staged a modest rebound as the S&P 500 beat a retreat after nearing record highs, while the FTSE 100 hit a new peak. The pound also bounced after a Bank of England dissenter voted for rate rise.

In Asia Pacific equities, Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 is off 0.1 per cent in early trading, while futures tip Tokyo’s Topix index to drop 0.6 per cent at the open and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index is expected to open down 0.1 per cent.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Miramar Hotel & Investments, Tian An China Investments, Kerry Properties, Mori Hills and Truly International Holdings.

The economic calendar for Friday is light (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08.00: New Zealand ANZ consumer confidence
  • 08.30: Singapore non-oil domestic exports
  • 15.30: Thailand foreign exchange reserves
  • Hong Kong’s composite interest rate for February is also due out today.

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