World Economy 2011

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Page last updated on January 13, 2011

Economy - overview:
In 2010, world output - and per capita income - began to recover from the 2008-09 recession, the first global downturn since 1946. Gross World Product (GWP) grew 4.6%, largely on the strength of rebounding exports, which rose about 20% from the level of 2009. Growth was not evenly distributed across countries, however. Lower income countries - those with per capita incomes below $30,000 per year - averaged 6.3% growth, while higher income countries - with per capita incomes above $30,000 - averaged just 2.8% growth. And countries with current account surpluses averaged 6.0% growth, while those with current account deficits averaged just 3.4% growth. Among large countries, China (+10.1%), Taiwan (+8.3%), India (+8.3%), Brazil (+7.5%), and South Korea (+6.1%) recorded the biggest GDP gains - China also became the world's largest exporter. Continuing uncertainties in mortgage and financial markets resulted in slower growth in Japan (+3.0%), the US (+2.8%), and the European Union (+1.7%). In 2010, global unemployment continued to creep upwards, reaching 8.8% - underemployment, especially in the developing world, remained much higher. Global gross fixed investment stabilized at about 23% of GWP, after a significant drop in 2009. World trade appears to be returning to pre-2009 patterns, with current account surpluses or deficits rising for a majority of countries. World external debt, however, dropped again in 2010 - about 5% from the 2009 level, as many countries reduced borrowing. Many, if not most, countries pursued expansionary monetary and fiscal policies. The global money supply, both narrowly and broadly defined, increased roughly 10%, as countries tried to keep interest rates low; the global budget deficit stablilized at roughly $3.5 trillion, as countries tried to rein in spending and slow the rise of public debt.

The world economy faces a major new challenge, together with several long-standing ones. The fiscal stimulus packages put in place in 2009-10 required most countries to run budget deficits - government balances have deteriorated for 14 out of every 15 countries. Treasuries issued new public debt - totaling $5.5 trillion since 2008 - to pay for the additional expenditures. To keep interest rates low, many central banks monetized that debt, injecting large sums of money into the economies. As economic activity picks up, central banks will face the difficult task of containing inflation without raising interest rates so high they snuff out further growth.
Long-standing challenges the world faces are several. The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of underemployment, pollution, waste-disposal, epidemics, water-shortages, famine, over-fishing of oceans, deforestation, desertification, and depletion of non-renewable resources. The nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, central governments often find their control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, in Iraq, in Indonesia, and in Canada. Externally, central governments are losing decisionmaking powers to international bodies, most notably the EU. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses economic risks because the participating nations are culturally and politically diverse and have varying levels and rates of growth of income, and hence, differing needs for monetary policy. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from an economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. The terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 accentuated a growing risk to global prosperity, illustrated, for example, by the reallocation of resources away from investment to anti-terrorist programs. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added new uncertainties to global economic prospects.
Despite these challenges, the world economy also shows great promise. Technology has made possible further advances in all fields, from agriculture, to medicine, alternative energy, metallurgy, and transportation. Improved global communications have greatly reduced the costs of international trade, helping the world gain from the international division of labor, raise living standards, and reduce income disparities among nations. Much of the resilience of the world economy in 2009 resulted from government leaders around the world working in concert to stem the financial onslaught, knowing well the lessons of past economic failures.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$74.43 trillion (2010 est.)

$71.17 trillion (2009 est.)
$71.67 trillion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
[see also: GDP (purchasing power parity) country ranks ]

GDP (official exchange rate):
GWP (gross world product): $62.22 trillion (2009 est.)
[see also: GDP (official exchange rate) country ranks ]

GDP - real growth rate:
4.6% (2010 est.)

-0.7% (2009 est.)
2.7% (2008 est.)
[see also: GDP - real growth rate country ranks ]

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$11,100 (2010 est.)

$10,800 (2009 est.)
$11,000 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
[see also: GDP - per capita country ranks ]

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.8%
[see also: GDP - composition by sector - agriculture country ranks ]
industry: 30.8%
[see also: GDP - composition by sector - industry country ranks ]
services: 63.4% (2009 est.)
[see also: GDP - composition by sector - services country ranks ]

Labor force:
3.232 billion (2009 est.)
[see also: Labor force country ranks ]

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 37.3%
[see also: Labor force - by occupation - agriculture country ranks ]
industry: 21.7%
[see also: Labor force - by occupation - industry country ranks ]
services: 41% (2007 est.)
[see also: Labor force - by occupation - services country ranks ]

Unemployment rate:
8.8% (2010 est.)

8.2% (2009 est.)
note: 30% (2007 est.) combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment
[see also: Unemployment rate country ranks ]

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.7%
[see also: Household income or consumption by percentage share - lowest 10% country ranks ]
highest 10%: 27.3% (2003 est.)
[see also: Household income or consumption by percentage share - highest 10% country ranks ]

Investment (gross fixed):
23.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

23.1% of GDP (2009 est.)
[see also: Investment (gross fixed) country ranks ]

Public debt:
58.3% of GDP (2010 est.)

56.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
[see also: Public debt country ranks ]

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
developed countries 0% to 4% typically; developing countries 5% to 20% typically; national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases; inflation rates have declined for most countries for the last several years, held in check by increasing international competition from several low wage countries and lower oil prices
[see also: Inflation rate (consumer prices) country ranks ]

Stock of narrow money:
$22.4 trillion (31 December 2010 est)

$20.87 trillion (31 December 2009 est)
[see also: Stock of narrow money country ranks ]

Stock of broad money:
$75.86 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

$68.54 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
[see also: Stock of broad money country ranks ]

Stock of domestic credit:
$104.2 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

$94.49 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
[see also: Stock of domestic credit country ranks ]

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$48.85 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)

$36.41 trillion (31 December 2008)
$64.6 trillion (31 December 2007 est.)
[see also: Market value of publicly traded shares country ranks ]

dominated by the onrush of technology, especially in computers, robotics, telecommunications, and medicines and medical equipment; most of these advances take place in OECD nations; only a small portion of non-OECD countries have succeeded in rapidly adjusting to these technological forces; the accelerated development of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems

Industrial production growth rate:
4.6% (2009 est.)
[see also: Industrial production growth rate country ranks ]

Electricity - production:
19.25 trillion kWh (2007 est.)
[see also: Electricity - production country ranks ]

Electricity - consumption:
17.93 trillion kWh (2007 est.)
[see also: Electricity - consumption country ranks ]

Electricity - exports:
615.4 billion kWh (2008 est.)
[see also: Electricity - exports country ranks ]

Electricity - imports:
613.9 billion kWh (2008 est.)
[see also: Electricity - imports country ranks ]

Oil - production:
84.24 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
[see also: Oil - production country ranks ]

Oil - consumption:
83.62 million bbl/day (2009 est.)
[see also: Oil - consumption country ranks ]

Oil - exports:
61.37 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
[see also: Oil - exports country ranks ]

Oil - imports:
63.77 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
[see also: Oil - imports country ranks ]

Oil - proved reserves:
1.378 trillion bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
[see also: Oil - proved reserves country ranks ]

Natural gas - production:
3.127 trillion cu m (2008 est.)
[see also: Natural gas - production country ranks ]

Natural gas - consumption:
3.073 trillion cu m (2008 est.)
[see also: Natural gas - consumption country ranks ]

Natural gas - exports:
949.9 billion cu m (2008 est.)
[see also: Natural gas - exports country ranks ]

Natural gas - imports:
947.2 billion cu m (2008 est.)
[see also: Natural gas - imports country ranks ]

Natural gas - proved reserves:
187.8 trillion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
[see also: Natural gas - proved reserves country ranks ]

$14.9 trillion (2010 est.)

$12.39 trillion (2009)
[see also: Exports country ranks ]

Exports - commodities:
the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
top ten - share of world trade: electrical machinery, including computers 14.8%; mineral fuels, including oil, coal, gas, and refined products 14.4%; nuclear reactors, boilers, and parts 14.2%; cars, trucks, and buses 8.9%; scientific and precision instruments 3.5%; plastics 3.4%; iron and steel 2.7%; organic chemicals 2.6%; pharmaceutical products 2.6%; diamonds, pearls, and precious stones 1.9%

Exports - partners:
US 12.7%, Germany 7.2%, China 6.4%, France 4.5%, Japan 4.3%, UK 4.2% (2008 est.)

$14.68 trillion (2010)

$12.19 trillion (2009)
[see also: Imports country ranks ]

Imports - commodities:
the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
top ten - share of world trade: see listing for exports

Imports - partners:
China 10.3%, Germany 8.7%, US 8%, Japan 5% (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$59.09 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

$62.25 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
note: this figure is the sum total of all countries' external debt, both public and private
[see also: Debt - external country ranks ]

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$17.53 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

$16.51 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
[see also: Stock of direct foreign investment - at home country ranks ]

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$18.19 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

$17.28 trillion (31 December 2009 est.)
[see also: Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad country ranks ]

NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 2011 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of World Economy 2011 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World Economy 2011 should be addressed to the CIA.

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This page was last modified 09-Feb-11
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