Japan's exports rose for the first time in 15 months in December on strong sales of electronics and car parts. But German business morale fell unexpectedly in January, hitting its lowest level since September. David Pollard reports.
At the IFO in Munich, there's one newcomer who hasn't made his presence felt yet. Despite the institute's key business morale indicator falling to its lowest level since September. (SOUNDBITE) (German) IFO ECONOMIST, KLAUS WOHLRABE, SAYING: "Donald Trump so far has no effect on current polls, something which took us by surprise ..." Economists were also surprised - the survey pointing to falling morale in all major business areas. And with - coincidentally - the government confirming a forecast for German growth to slow this year. 1.4 per cent expected - compared to 1.9 last year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "The expectations component of the IFO index took a leg down. Maybe that's because of some of the rhetoric that we're hearing from Mr Trump with regards to the openness of US borders on the one hand and the impact that this might have on emerging markets on the other." For Japan, the worry could be Trump and trade. The new president signing the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday. Though the concerns aren't showing in the numbers yet. Exports rose for the first time in 15 months in December - and manufacturing's expanding at its fastest in nearly three years - despite low expectations for the economy as a whole. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "It has an ageing workforce, a declining population, arguably perhaps an overvalued currency, disinflation, and a set of policies which really aren't doing what the government wants them to do." And with Trump already taking aim at Toyota - the world's biggest carmaker - trade tensions are likely to do little to help Japan out of that economic rut.