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The Incredible Shrinking UK Economy

 January 18, 2012 04:07 PM


The magnitude of the blow suffered by the UK economy since the beginning of the financial crisis is very considerably minimized by not presenting it in terms of a common international yardstick. Gauged by decline in GDP, using a common international purchasing measure, dollars, no other economy in the world has shrunk even remotely as much as the UK (Figure 1 and Table 1).

As most countries produce only annualized GDP data it will be necessary to wait before a comprehensive global comparison can be made for 2011. However it is clear no substantial growth in dollar terms took place in the UK economy during that year – GDP at national current prices rose only 1.4 per cent between the 1st and 3rd quarters and the change in the pound's exchange rate against the dollar during the year was a marginal 0.3 per cent. Therefore there will have been no significant recovery from the UK data set out in Table 1 below, and the gap between the UK and other European economies, which form the next worst performing major group, is too great to have been qualitatively affected by changes in the Euro's exchange rate – the Euro declined against the pound by only 3.3 per cent in 2011.

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Table 1 shows that the fall in UK GDP in 2007-2010 was $562 billion compared to the next worst performing national economy, Italy, with a decline of $65 billion – i.e. the decline in UK GDP in the common measuring yardstick of dollars was more than eight times that of the next worst performing national economy. Table 1 shows the 10 national economies suffering the greatest declines in dollar GDP.

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It is also extremely striking that the UK's decline was more than two and a half times that of the entire Eurozone. The UK accounted for a somewhat astonishing 77 per cent of the EU's decline.

Table 1

12 01 13 Table 1

Figure 1

12 01 13 UK GDP decline in dollars

 

Expressed in percentage terms the situation is no better.


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