North Korea's nuclear test, sliding German exports and a lack of fresh stimulus signals from the ECB sour the mood for stocks in Asia and Europe. David Pollard reports.
The blast was felt by its neighbours, the political shockwaves beyond. North Korea's fifth nuclear test its most powerful - more than enough to rattle already uncertain stock markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "You look around the world and there are lots of geopolitical challenges, of which the North Korea South Korea tensions is one of them. Investors are just nervous that any of these could blow up." Asian shares outside Japan dropped half a per cent - the Nikkei finished flat. Europe treading its own negative path on more weak data from Europe's largest economy. German export orders down - by an unexpectedly severe 2.6 per cent in July. A mighty trade surplus also slipping. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "The trade surplus is very much part of the success story that has driven unemployment lower, has driven growth, has driven the aggregate German economy. I think I would be much more worried if some of this weak export data was across the southern periphery, where there are far more challenges of competitiveness." Should then Mario Draghi have done more on Thursday to boost weak euro zone growth? A lack of clear stimulus signals at the ECB chief's press conference adding to a downbeat mood. (SOUNDBITE) (German) CAPITAL MARKETS ANALYST, ASCAN IREDI, SAYING: "We see a spreading disappointment. Something was expected and it didn't happen. But what could have happened anyway The ECB is already firing on all cylinders." Demand for German goods dropped the most from countries outside the EU - including China, Russia, Japan and the United States. On average, those plunging by over 13 percent.