Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will keep the economy as his 'highest priority' in 2017 and visits a shrine to pray for good fortune. Laura Frykberg reports.
Shinzo Abe's prayers appear to have been answered Japanese manufacturing activity grew at its fasted pace in a year last month. And exports began recover... A sign for him perhaps to keep Abenomics at the top of the altar. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER, SHINZO ABE, SAYING: "We will put the highest priority on the economy again this year. We'll swiftly move, like a bird flying high, and keep shooting the three arrows of monetary policy, fiscal policy and growth strategy to beat deflation." Helping along the way is likely to be the weaker Yen. The lower the value of the currency against the U.S. dollar - the more competitive for exporters. Which makes up a large portion of Japan's economy. Markets too have enjoyed these currency moves But could they be counting their chickens before they hatch? SOUNDBITE (English) FIDELITY GLOBAL'S INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON SAYING: "The big question now is whether the stock markets have simply got ahead of themselves. Whether they have priced in too much of the potential good news on economic growth next year, and not really considered enough the threat to that growth, the shape of the Trump presidency remains unclear." His tendency towards isolationist policies could also test Japan. The U.S. is its fourth largest trading partner. If that changes, some real divine intervention might be needed.