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United Kingdom Economy
Economy - overview:
The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quartet of trillion dollar economies of Western Europe. 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 only 1% of the labor force. The UK has large coal, natural gas, and oil reserves; primary energy production accounts for 10% of GDP, one of the highest shares of any industrial nation. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. GDP growth slipped in 2001-03 as the global downturn, the high value of the pound, and the bursting of the "new economy" bubble hurt manufacturing and exports. Still, the economy is one of the strongest in Europe; inflation, interest rates, and unemployment remain low. The relatively good economic performance has complicated the BLAIR government's efforts to make a case for Britain to join the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Critics point out, however, that the economy is doing well outside of EMU, and they point to public opinion polls that continue to show a majority of Britons opposed to the euro. Meantime, the government has been speeding up the improvement of education, transport, and health services, at a cost in higher taxes. The war in March-April 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq, together with the subsequent problems of restoring the economy and the polity, involve a heavy commitment of British military forces.
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $1.666 trillion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.2% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $27,700 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.9%
industry: 26.5%
services: 72.6% (2003)
Investment (gross fixed):
16.2% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
17% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 27.7% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
36.8 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.4% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
29.6 million (2003)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 1%, industry 25%, services 74% (1999)
Unemployment rate:
5% (2003 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $688.9 billion
expenditures: $746.1 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003)
Public debt:
51% of GDP (2003)
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, and other consumer goods
Industrial production growth rate:
-0.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
360.9 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 73.8%
hydro: 0.9%
other: 1.6% (2001)
nuclear: 23.7%
Electricity - consumption:
346.1 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
264 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
10.66 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
2.541 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
1.71 million bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
2.205 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
1.418 million bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
4.741 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
105.9 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
92.85 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
15.75 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
2.7 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
714.9 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish
Current account balance:
$-7.556 billion (2003)
Exports:
$304.5 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partners:
US 15.7%, Germany 10.5%, France 9.5%, Netherlands 6.9%, Ireland 6.5%, Belgium 5.6%, Spain 4.4%, Italy 4.4% (2003 est.)
Imports:
$363.6 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Germany 13.5%, US 10.2%, France 8.1%, Netherlands 6.3%, Belgium 4.9%, Italy 4.7% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$46.05 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
NA (2002 est.)
Economic aid - donor:
ODA, $4.5 billion (2000)
Currency:
British pound (GBP)
Currency code:
GBP
Exchange rates:
British pounds per US dollar - 0.6125 (2003), 0.6672 (2002), 0.6947 (2001), 0.6609 (2000), 0.6181 (1999)
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