The Economy of The United Kingdom

The Economy of The United Kingdom

British Economy

Economy - overview: The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is one of the quintet 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 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; energy industries now contribute about 4% to GDP. Services, particularly banking, insurance, and business services, account by far for the largest proportion of GDP while industry continues to decline in importance. Since 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. The global economic slowdown, tight credit, and falling home prices, however, pushed Britain back into recession in the latter half of 2008 and prompted the BROWN government to implement a number of new measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets; these include part-nationalizing the banking system, cutting taxes, suspending public sector borrowing rules, and bringing forward public spending on capital projects. 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), and opinion polls show a majority of Britons oppose joining the euro.


GDP - real growth rate: 0.7% (2008 est.) 3% (2007 est.) 2.8% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 0.9% industry: 22.8% services: 76.2% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.1% highest 10%: 28.5% (1999)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 34 (2005)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 31.2 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 1.4% industry: 18.2% services: 80.4% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate: 5.5% (2008 est.)

Budget: revenues: $1.107 trillion expenditures: $1.242 trillion (2008 est.)

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: -0.1% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 371 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 348.5 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports: 3.398 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 8.613 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 1.69 million bbl/day (2007est.)

Oil - consumption: 1.763 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - exports: 1.749 million bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 1.673 million bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 3.6 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production: 72.3 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 91.1 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 10.4 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 29.2 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 412 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Agriculture - products: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish

Exports: $468.7 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco

Exports - partners: US 14.2%, Germany 11.1%, France 8.1%, Ireland 8%, Netherlands 6.8%, Belgium 5.3%, Spain 4.5%, Italy 4.1% (2007)

Imports: $645.7 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs

Imports - partners: Germany 14.2%, US 8.6%, China 7.3%, Netherlands 7.3%, France 6.9%, Belgium 4.7%, Norway 4.7%, Italy 4.2% (2007)

Debt - external: $10.45 trillion (30 June 2007)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: British pounds (GBP) per US dollar - 0.5302 (2008 est.), 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006), 0.5493 (2005), 0.5462 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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