Economy of the United Kingdom

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Economy - overview: The United Kingdom, a leading trading power and financial center, deploys an essentially capitalistic economy, 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. The economy has grown steadily, at just above or below 3%, for the last several years. The BLAIR government has put off the question of participation in the euro system until after the next election, in June of 2001; Chancellor of the Exchequer BROWN has identified some key economic tests to determine whether the UK should join the common currency system, but it will largely be a political decision. A serious short-term problem is foot-and-mouth disease, which by early 2001 had broken out in nearly 600 farms and slaughterhouses and had resulted in the killing of 400,000 animals.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $1.36 trillion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.9% (1999 est.), 3% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $22,800 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  1.7%
industry:  24.9%
services:  73.4% (1999)
Population below poverty line: 17%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 27.3% (1991)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.3% (1999), 2.4% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 29.2 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation: services 68.9%, manufacturing and construction 17.5%, government 11.3%, energy 1.2%, agriculture 1.1% (1996)
Unemployment rate: 6% (1999), 5.5% (2000 est.)
Budget:
revenues:  $555.2 billion
expenditures:  $510.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $37.7 billion (FY00)
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: -0.3% (1999), 2% (2000)
Electricity - production: 342.771 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel:  69.38%
hydro:  1.55%
nuclear:  26.68%
other:  2.39% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 333.012 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 265 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 14.5 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish
Exports: $282 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partners: EU 58% (Germany 12%, France 10%, Netherlands 8%), US 15% (1999)
Imports: $324 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Imports - commodities: manufactured goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs
Imports - partners: EU 53% (Germany 14%, France 9%, Netherlands 7%), US 13%, Japan 5% (1999)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $3.4 billion (1997)
Currency: British pound (GBP)

SOURCE: The World Factbook

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