Neither the British nor the Euroland statisticians had much to say for themselves. The monthly round of provisional purchasing managers' indices, in which the UK does not participate, indicated that activity in the €Z private sector continued at a decent clip in January even if not all of the readings met expectations. 

In Germany consumer confidence improved while business confidence deteriorated slightly. UK retail sales fell in December, perhaps as a result of consumers bringing forward their Christmas purchases to Black Friday in November and Britain’s economy expanded by a provisional 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016, slightly more than forecast.

Sterling led the field for a second week, strengthening by two US and two euro cents. Its saviours were the Supreme Court ruling that parliament must approve activation of the Article 50 EU departure process and the government's promise of a white paper. Investors demonstrated yet again their preference for transparency over opacity.