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UK Data Better Than Expectations

British manufacturing grew more strongly than expected in December, showing the economy remained resilient to the end of the year despite June’s Brexit vote shock, although 2017 looks like it will be more difficult.

Official data released this morning also showed the country’s smaller construction sector grew more quickly in December than many economists had forecast, while the trade deficit narrowed.

Sterling jumped above $1.25 on Friday after data showed UK industrial output rose more than expected in December and the trade deficit was narrower than forecast, allaying fears of a slowdown as the Brexit process gathers pace.

The figures showed manufacturing grew strongly in the October-to-December period, up 1.2 percent from the previous three months, the strongest performance since June 23’s Brexit referendum.

In December, manufacturing output jumped by 2.1 percent, much more than the 0.5 percent rise forecast by a poll of economists.

Britain’s economy was the strongest among the Group of Seven richest nations last year, confounding predictions of a sharp slowdown following the decision by voters to leave the European Union. But it is widely expected to slow this year as rising inflation eats into the spending power of consumers.

The Bank of England has signalled it is in no hurry to raise interest rates from their record low.

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