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United Kingdom Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewThe UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France. 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; the UK has been a net importer of energy since 2005. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, are key drivers of British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined in importance but still accounts for about 10% of economic output.

In 2008, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector. Falling home prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic slowdown compounded the UK’s economic problems, pushing the economy into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompting the then BROWN (Labour) government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets. Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, in 2010 the then CAMERON-led coalition government (between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) initiated an austerity program, which has continued under the Conservative government. However, the deficit still remains one of the highest in the G7, standing at 3.6% of GDP as of 2017, and the UK has pledged to lower its corporation tax from 20% to 17% by 2020. The UK had a debt burden of 90.4% GDP at the end of 2017.

The UK’s economy has begun to slow since the referendum vote to leave the EU in June 2016. A sustained depreciation of the British pound has increased consumer and producer prices, weighing on consumer spending without spurring a meaningful increase in exports. The UK has an extensive trade relationship with other EU members through its single market membership and economic observers have warned the exit will jeopardize its position as the central location for European financial services. Prime Minister MAY is seeking a new “deep and special” trade relationship with the EU following the UK’s exit. However, economists doubt that the UK will be able to preserve the benefits of EU membership without the obligations.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$2.88 trillion (2017 est.)
$2.833 trillion (2016 est.)
$2.783 trillion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.565 trillion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate1.7% (2017 est.)
1.8% (2016 est.)
2.2% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$43,600 (2017 est.)
$43,200 (2016 est.)
$42,700 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving13.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
12.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
13% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 65.3%
government consumption: 19%
investment in fixed capital: 16.6%
investment in inventories: 0.7%
exports of goods and services: 30.1%
imports of goods and services: -31.7% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.6%
industry: 19%
services: 80.4%
(2017 est.)
Population below poverty line15% (2013 est.)
Labor force33.5 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.3%
industry: 15.2%
services: 83.5% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate4.4% (2017 est.)
4.9% (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 14.6%
male: 16.2%
female: 12.9% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 31.1% (2012)
Distribution of family income - Gini index32.4 (2012)
33.4 (2010)
Budgetrevenues: $984.4 billion
expenditures: $1.076 trillion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues38.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt90.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
89.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.6% (2017 est.)
0.7% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.25% (31 December 2016)
0.5% (31 December 2015)
Commercial bank prime lending rate4.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
4.44% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$104.8 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$96.15 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$3.066 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.778 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$3.042 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.785 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$3.019 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$2.903 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.107 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - productscereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish
Industriesmachine 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 rate0.7% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$91.42 billion (2017 est.)
-$114.5 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$436.5 billion (2017 est.)
$407.3 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmanufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partnersUS 14.8%, Germany 10.7%, France 6.4%, Netherlands 6.2%, Ireland 5.6%, Switzerland 4.6%, China 4.4% (2016)
Imports$602.5 billion (2017 est.)
$588.4 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmanufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs
Imports - partnersGermany 13.6%, US 9.3%, China 9.2%, Netherlands 7.4%, France 5.2%, Belgium 4.9%, Switzerland 4.5% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$135 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$129.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$8.126 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$8.642 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$2.027 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.858 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.634 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.611 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesBritish pounds (GBP) per US dollar -
0.7836 (2017 est.)
0.738 (2016 est.)
0.738 (2015 est.)
0.607 (2014 est.)
0.6391 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year6 April - 5 April

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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