US and Chinese presidents hold first direct contact since February
The US and Chinese presidents held their first direct conversations since February overnight on Thursday.
Financial market participants appeared hopeful that the US president, Joe Biden's decision to engage with his Chinese counterpart might help to avoid what some observers believed was a slow slide towards an adversarial approach by both sides.
Biden reportedly decided to take the initiative after low-level talks between US and Chinese officials apparently stalled.
Worth noting, a US official told Bloomberg that the White House was reviewing its overall China policy, including $300bn-worth of tariffs on Chinese goods and the trade agreement inked under the Trump administration.
That review could reportedly be concluded in the near future.
China's stance, according to recent remarks from its foreign minister, Wang Yi, was that Washington should meet Beijing halfway and help put relations back on track.
Some of his counterparts in the US however saw that as holding progress on key issues - such as climate change - hostage, in exchange for concessions.
Relations between the two powers had been very strained over the preceding few years, in particular, on issues including human rights, cybersecurity and the origins of coronavirus.
Nevertheless, the tone of the 90-minute conversation between Biden and Xi was reported to have been candid.
One US official told Bloomberg that Biden took the opportunity to explain America's intentions behind its actions, which are sometimes misinterpreted in China as designed to undermine it.
A face-to-face meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the next G-20 summit in Rome remained a possibility, although Xi had yet to confirm his attendance on account of Covid-19.
Indeed, according to Bloomberg, China's leader had not left the country for 600 days.