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United Kingdom


    • Overview:
      The UK is one of the world's great trading powers and financial centers, and its economy ranks among the four largest in Western Europe. The economy is essentially capitalistic; over the past 13 years the ruling Tories have 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, and primary energy production accounts for 12% 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, now employing only 25% of the work force and generating only 21% of GDP. The economy registered 4.2% GDP growth in 1994, its fastest annual rate for six years. Exports and manufacturing output are the primary engines of growth. Unemployment is gradually falling. Inflation is at the lowest level in 27 years, but British monetary authorities raised interest rates to 6.25% in 1994 in a preemptive strike on emerging inflationary pressures such as higher taxes and rising manufacturing costs. The combination of a buoyant economy and fiscal tightening is projected to trim the FY94/95 budget shortfall to about $50 billion - down from about $75 billion in FY93/94. The major economic policy question for Britain in the 1990s is the terms on which it participates in the financial and economic integration of Europe.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $1.0452 trillion (1994 est.)

    • National product real growth rate:
      4.2% (1994 est.)

    • National product per capita:
      $17,980 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      2.4% (1994)

    • Unemployment rate:
      9.3% (1994)

    • Budget:

        revenues:
        $325.5 billion

        expenditures:
        $400.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $33 billion (FY93/94 est.)

    • Exports:
      $200 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

        commodities:
        manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, transport equipment

        partners:
        EU countries 56.7% (Germany 14.0%, France 11.1%, Netherlands 7.9%), US 10.9%

    • Imports:
      $215 billion (c.i.f., 1994 est.)

        commodities:
        manufactured goods, machinery, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods

        partners:
        EU countries 51.7% (Germany 14.9%, France 9.3%, Netherlands 8.4%), US 11.6%

    • External debt:
      $16.2 billion (June 1992)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate 5.6% (1994)

    • Electricity:

        capacity:
        65,360,000 kW

        production:
        303 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        5,123 kWh (1993)

    • Industries:
      production machinery including 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

    • Agriculture:
      accounts for only 1.5% of GDP; wide variety of crops and livestock products

    • Illicit drugs:
      gateway country for Latin American cocaine entering the European market; producer of synthetic drugs; transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering center

    • Economic aid:

        donor:
        ODA and OOF commitments (1992-93), $3.2 billion

    • Currency:
      1 British pound (#) = 100 pence

    • Exchange rates:
      British pounds (#) per US$1 - 0.6350 (January 1995), 0.6529 (1994), 0.6033 (1993), 0.5664 (1992), 0.5652 (1991), 0.5603 (1990)

    • Fiscal year:
      1 April - 31 March






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