(REUTERS) – 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 on Friday also showed the country’s smaller construction sector grew more quickly in December than many economists had forecast, while the trade deficit narrowed.
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 signaled it is in no hurry to raise interest rates from their record low.
Sterling rose after Friday’s data and British government bond futures FLGcv1 modestly extended losses.