The latest data out of the UK shows manufacturing and construction slipping back from their previous strength in January. Sara Hemrajani reports on how the British economy is coping with Brexit uncertainty - as UK prime minister Theresa May appears at her last Brussels summit before launching divorce talks with the EU.
Theresa May on what could be her farewell tour of Brussels. The British Prime Minister is at her final EU summit before launching Brexit, saying it's time for divorce talks to begin. (Soundbite) Theresa May, British Prime Minister, saying (English): "It's time to get on with leaving the European Union and building the independent, self governing, global Britain the British people have called for." At home, businesses are still coming to grips with their changing reality. After a strong end to 2016, industrial output, manufacturing and construction all fell in January - the last two by more than expected. The question now - is this a minor glitch in what's been a mostly positive period? (Soundbite) Mike Ingram, Market Analyst, BGC Partners, saying (English): "What I would be rather more focused on, rather than reacting to this somewhat softer than expected data, is to really look at the bigger picture and more current data. So, for instance, if you look at manufacturing PMIs for February that indicates that you had reasonably strong growth continuing through the first quarter of this year." Sterling's weakness post-referendum has spurred factory production and exports. But it's taking a toll on consumers. Accountancy firm BDO says retail sales dropped for a third straight month in February. And a Bank of England survey shows the public expects an even sharper rise in inflation - 2.9 per cent over the next year - driving down the spending power of households who've kept the UK economy afloat.