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While President Trump and President Xi discuss the North Korea problem in sunny Florida, the US Senate has already gone nuclear.

Republican lawmakers dramatically overhauled Senate rules using a so-called “nuclear option” to push forward to a vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court as early as Friday. The move came after Democrats attempted to block the appointment.

The much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is finally underway on Thursday evening at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

According to the White House pool report, Mr Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, arrived at 5:10 pm local time and were greeted at the door by Mr Trump and his wife Melania Trump. The presidents and their wives are scheduled to dine together at Mar-a-Lago later this evening.

On Wall Street stocks staged a late rally, but the mood remained largely hesitant amid uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet intentions and doubts about Mr Trump’s fiscal stimulus plans, as well as the outcome of this week’s summit.

In Asia Pacific equities, futures tip Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 to climb 0.3 per cent at the open, while Tokyo’s Topix is expected to gain 0.7 per cent. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng is set to inch up 0.1 per cent when trading begins.

Corporate earnings reports out today include Yingde Gases, TangShan Port, Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical, Onward Holdings, Shimachu and Sakata Seed.

The economic calendar for Friday hopes you like forex holdings data, because that’s what you’re getting (all times Hong Kong):

  • 08.00: Japan overtime earnings
  • 11.30: Thailand consumer confidence
  • 14.30: Australia foreign exchange reserves
  • 15.00: Malaysia foreign exchange reserves
  • 15.30: Thailand foreign exchange reserves
  • 16.00: China foreign exchange reserves
  • 17.00: Singapore foreign exchange reserves
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