Better-than-expected UK GDP and upbeat consumer confidence data from Europe could suggest the full impact of Britain's Brexit vote hasn't hit the economy, at least not yet. The latest numbers come as UK PM Theresa May takes her case for a Brexit deal to Italy. David Pollard reports.
UPSOT (English) UK FINANCE MINISTER, PHILIP HAMMOND, SAYING: "Well, these second-quarter figures are stronger than people expected .... " Brexit, what Brexit? The latest UK GDP numbers should give UK finance minister Philip Hammond something to smile about, even if he didn't quite manage that. Growth in the second quarter rose 0.6 per cent - much more than expected. That matching an upbeat mood in the euro zone too - for consumers. And for the ECB's Mario Draghi - who saw lending growth to euro zone companies pick up last month. Together with a sharp rise in the key M3 measure of euro zone money supply. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "That's important because of course Draghi's big thing is to increase the monetary supply to drive inflation back into the euro zone economy, move it back towards that 2% target. A good M3 print as we saw this morning helps in that task." But here Brexit is still an unanswered question. As to how Britain will trade with what will be its former EU partners. After Berlin and Paris, the new UK prime minister is on her third stop in a tour of Europe's key economies: a red hot Rome. For talks on how to move towards a deal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "I'm looking at this with an open mind. I think we should be developing a model that suits the United Kingdom and the European Union. Not adopting necessarily adopting a model that is on the shelf already - but saying what is going to work for the UK and what is going to work best for the European Union." In the meantime, UK retailers are now reporting their biggest fall in sales in 4 years immediately after the Brexit vote, according to a new survey. Most economists still believing that the UK's THIRD quarter growth numbers could tell a different story.