>> British Prime Minister Theresa May was at her final EU summit Thursday night before launching Brexit. The message, It's time for divorce talks to begin.>> 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 mostly been a positive period?
Reuters, Bill Shamberg, in London, says things are starting to look brighter.>> Well, today's data actually shows that in January things were a little weak. But, if you look at the three months to January, which is what people tend to do to get a better sense of what's really going on.
Things are actually quite good. Manufacturing had its best three month period in nearly seven years, and exports are showing signs of a pick up too. Now, this is what supporters of Brexit had been arguing before the referendum, that a fall in the pound wasn't necessarily bad news. It's probably too soon to say that there's significant help for exporters coming through from the fall in the pound.
But there are signs of this rebalancing of the British economy that people have been hoping to see for a long time. Might just be starting to happen at the edges.>> 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% over the next year. Driving down the spending power of households who've kept the UK economy afloat.