United Kingdom

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Economics

Economy - overview

The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. Over the past two decades, the government has greatly reduced public ownership and contained the growth of social welfare programs. Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil resources, but its oil and natural gas reserves are declining and the UK became a net importer of energy in 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. After emerging from recession in 1992, Britain's economy enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record during which time growth outpaced most of Western Europe. In 2008, however, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Sharply declining home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded Britain's economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets; these include nationalizing parts of the banking system, cutting taxes, suspending public sector borrowing rules, and moving forward public spending on capital projects. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, the CAMERON government in 2010 initiated a five-year austerity program, which aims to lower London's budget deficit from over 10% of GDP in 2010 to nearly 1% by 2015. The Bank of England periodically coordinates interest rate moves with the European Central Bank, but Britain remains outside the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.173 trillion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

$2.146 trillion (2009 est.)

$2.256 trillion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

 

GDP (official exchange rate):

$2.247 trillion (2010 est.)

 

GDP - real growth rate:

1.3% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

-4.9% (2009 est.)

-0.1% (2008 est.)

 

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$34,800 (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

$34,600 (2009 est.)

$36,600 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

 

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 0.7%

industry: 21.7%

services: 77.6% (2010 est.)

 

Labor force:

31.52 million (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

 

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 1.4%

industry: 18.2%

services: 80.4% (2006 est.)

 

Unemployment rate:

7.8% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

7.6% (2009 est.)

 

Population below poverty line:

14% (2006 est.)

 

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 28.5% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

34 (2005)

country comparison to the world: 94

36.8 (1999)

 

Investment (gross fixed):

14.7% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 167

 

Budget:

revenues: $908 billion

expenditures: $1.14 trillion (2010 est.)

 

Taxes and other revenues:

40.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 43

 

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-10.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

 

Public debt:

76.1% of GDP (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23

68.2% of GDP (2009 est.)

 

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3.3% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

2.2% (2009 est.)

 

Central bank discount rate:

7.75% (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 136

0.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

3.962% (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174

4.048% (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Stock of narrow money:

$88.88 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

$87.71 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Stock of broad money:

$3.362 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

$3.301 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Stock of domestic credit:

$5.151 trillion (31 December 2009)

country comparison to the world: 6

$4.436 trillion (31 December 2008)

 

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$3.107 trillion (31 December 2010)

country comparison to the world: 5

$2.796 trillion (31 December 2009)

$1.852 trillion (31 December 2008)

 

Agriculture - products:

cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish

 

Industries:

machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, other consumer goods

 

Industrial production growth rate:

2.1% (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

 

Electricity - production:

346 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

 

Electricity - consumption:

344.7 billion kWh (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

 

Electricity - exports:

3.748 billion kWh (2009 est.)

 

Electricity - imports:

2.861 billion kWh (2009 est.)

 

Oil - production:

1.393 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

 

Oil - consumption:

1.622 million bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

 

Oil - exports:

1.311 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

 

Oil - imports:

1.45 million bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

 

Oil - proved reserves:

2.858 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 31

 

Natural gas - production:

56.3 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

 

Natural gas - consumption:

94.28 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 8

 

Natural gas - exports:

15.65 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 16

 

Natural gas - imports:

53.63 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

 

Natural gas - proved reserves:

256 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

 

Current account balance:

-$56.19 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 194

-$37.05 billion (2009 est.)

 

Exports:

$410.2 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

$356.4 billion (2009 est.)

 

Exports - commodities:

manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco

 

Exports - partners:

US 11.4%, Germany 11.2%, Netherlands 8.5%, France 7.7%, Ireland 6.8%, Belgium 5.4% (2010)

 

Imports:

$563.2 billion (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$484.9 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs

 

Imports - partners:

Germany 13.1%, China 9.1%, Netherlands 7.5%, France 6.1%, US 5.8%, Norway 5.5%, Belgium 4.9% (2010)

 

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$82.41 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 24

$66.72 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Debt - external:

$8.981 trillion (30 June 2010)

country comparison to the world: 3

$9.041 trillion (31 December 2008)

 

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$1.076 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

$1.056 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$1.675 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

$1.674 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)

 

Exchange rates:

British pounds (GBP) per US dollar -

0.6388 (2010)

0.6175 (2009)

0.5302 (2008)

0.4993 (2007)

0.5418 (2006)