The outlook for the UK economy in the wake of June’s historic EU referendum remains as clear as mud.

On the one hand, data released in recent days would suggest that the economy is going from strength to strength. Latest PMI numbers from the services sector — an area responsible for two-thirds of British GDP — registered at a healthy 52.6 for September. And this follows blowout readings from the manufacturing and construction segments.

But this doesn’t mean that troubles aren’t coming down the line for the UK economy. Indeed, the full impact of Brexit is undoubtedly a medium-to-long-term issue, and many analysts remain fearful over the potential impact on the domestic economy in the years ahead. The OECD and IMF have recently both slashed their 2017 growth forecasts, for example, to 1.2% and 1.1% respectively.

Drinks delight

In this landscape, firms with huge international exposure like spirits colossus Diageo (LSE: DGE) and insurance play Prudential (LSE: PRU) could prove to be welcome lifeboats should the British economy indeed hit troubled waters.

Diageo has its vast international presence to draw on, its single largest market being that of North America. But the company is also expanding its presence in lucrative developing nations to make the most of rising population levels and rising drinks budgets.

Sure, the company’s acquisition of China’s Shuijingfang may not have gone down as well as expected, at least yet.

But Diageo’s decision to purchase other market-leading brands in fresh new geographies, such as Mexico’s Don Julio and South Africa’s United National Breweries — the country’s biggest producer of local drink sorghum — looks set to keep earnings rolling higher well into the future. Indeed, Diageo has put expansion in Africa at the heart of its growth strategy.

Indeed, the City expects strong sales growth of labels like Johnnie Walker and Baileys across the globe to keep earnings chugging higher — a 15% advance is pencilled-in for the period to June 2017 alone, helped by the positive impact created by sterling weakness.

Eastern promise

Prudential is looking towards different territories to Diageo to supercharge long-term profits, although its growth story is no less compelling.

Like the drinks manufacturer, Prudential’s weighty presence in the stable US economy should undergird solid profits expansion. But there’s no doubt Asia has been identified as the promised land by the insurance giant, a strategy put to the fore by previous chief executive Tidjane Thiam.

And with good reason, too — new business profits from these markets grew 20% during January and June, to £824m.

A rare 9% earnings slip is predicted for 2016 by the City. But Prudential’s long-running growth story is expected to resume next year, with a 13% rise currently predicted. I reckon the financial giant will prove a great growth pick for years to come.

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Royston Wild has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.