London investors will look for clues on the strength of Britain’s economy this week

LONDON: INVESTORS in London will examine vital British inflation, unemployment and retail sales data this week for clues on the strength of Britain's economic growth in the second quarter.

London's FTSE 100 Index eased 1.52% over the past week to finish at 5,765.80 points on Friday.

Britain's recovery suffered a major blow on Friday as official data revealed a slump in the country's manufacturing output. Production slid 1.5% in April compared with activity in March, with output impacted by the royal wedding and Japan's tsunami disaster.

Output meanwhile rose by 1.3% in April on a 12-month comparison, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

“Feedback from companies has highlighted the extra bank holiday in April and the after-effects of the Japanese tsunami as factors influencing the reduction in output,” the ONS added.

British workers were given a day off on April 29 to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, while Japan's natural disaster meant vital parts could not be sent abroad to Britain, hitting production.

The ONS added on Friday that the wider measure of output, British industrial production, dived 1.7% from March and decreased by 1.2% year-on-year, according to the ONS.

The month-on-month drop was the biggest since August 2009, while analysts had forecast a fall of just 0.1%. Industrial production includes mining and quarrying, as well as electricity, gas, and water supply.

British inflation data for May will be published tomorrow, ahead of unemployment fi-gures on Wednesday and retail sales on Thursday.

The country's biggest retailer, supermarket giant Tesco, publishes a trading update tomorrow. AFP

Latest business news from AP-Wire

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