FITA helps you find
service providers for:

Market Research


flag United Kingdom United Kingdom: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

After five years of economic recession, the British economy saw a strong recovery in 2013, showing an economic growth of 1.4%, driven by household consumption (over 60% of the GDP) and a recovery of lending. Growth should stabilise in 2014 and is expected to reach around 2.4% of the GDP.

Some analysts have pointed out that the signs of recovery from 2013 must be seen in the right context and are mostly the effect of a rebound and a catching up, rather than of a real improvement of the economy. The growth has in fact been driven my the consumption of households, which have again begun to fall into debt and the British economy therefore remains structurally imbalanced. Since the beginning of the crisis, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has been trying to pursue his austerity policy and introduce measures to stimulate the manufacturing sector in order to offset the economy's dependency on consumption and lending. The state deficit has been considerably reduced; it should decrease to less than 3% by 2016-17 and a balanced budget should be reached by 2018-19. There is still the issue of energy and of reconciling the need for reducing carbon emissions with the necessary replacement of old power plants and  rising energy prices, which create political tensions.

The unemployment rate, prior to the crisis one of the lowest in Europe, has been rising sharply and is estimated at around 8%. One out of five people under 25 is unemployed. Unemployment has been partially contained through wage freezing and the development of part-time work.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 2,464.642,470.572,523.22e2,847.60e3,002.95
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 1.10.31.7e3.2e2.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 38,945e38,781e39e44,141e46,244
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.0-5.8-3.8e-4.1-3.6
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 84.389.190.692.0e93.1
Inflation Rate (%) 4.52.82.61.6e1.8
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 8.18.07.66.35.8
Current Account (billions USD) -36.04-94.58-113.83e-120.20-113.12
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.5-3.8-4.5-4.2-3.8

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

The Agricultural sector accounts for less than 1% of the GDP, but is very productive. Main crops are potatoes, beetroot, wheat and barley. Livestock farming (especially sheep and cattle) continues to be a major agricultural activity, despite the crises of "mad cow" and "foot and mouth" diseases. The fishing sector is also well developed but is currently suffering from the depletion of fish volumes in the traditional fishing areas.

The United Kingdom has considerable mineral resources. Once the world's 10th biggest oil producer with huge natural gas reserves, its production is dropping fast. Nevertheless, groups like BP and Shell continue to be amongst the global leaders in the petroleum industry.

The secondary sector is not very competitive. The main activities are tool machinery, transport material and chemical products. The sectors with a good potential are information and communication technologies, bio-technology, aviation industry, renewable energies and defense.

The services sector, which employs almost 80% of the active population and contributes to over three quarters of the GDP, is the driving force behind the economy. London remains Europe's largest financial market place, on par with New York.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 1.2 18.9 78.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 0.7 20.2 79.2
Value Added (Annual % Change) -4.0 0.4 1.9

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
British Pound (GBP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.640.650.620.630.64

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about the United Kingdom on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
74.9/100
Position:
Mostly Free
World Rank:
14/178
Regional Rank:
5/43

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
7.44
World Rank:
22/82

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Return to top

Foreign Trade in Figures

The United Kingdom is one of the biggest actors of international trade. In 2015, trade represents more than 60% of its GDP. It is the world's third biggest exporter and the fourth biggest importer of commercial services, and the tenth biggest exporter and sixth biggest importer of goods. The United Kingdom's main trade partners are the European Union, the United States and China.

The United Kingdom shows a trade deficit. Due to the current economic slowdown and the difficulties in the euro zone, a worsening of the situation is likely. In 2014, the trade deficit of goods decreased because exports rose by 3.9% while imports only increased by 2.9%.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 482,852591,095673,691690,563654,436
Exports of Goods (million USD) 352,873415,959502,540474,476541,348
Imports of Services (million USD) 157,501164,542174,690175,224172,787
Exports of Services (million USD) 228,256263,789292,758288,370289,970
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -9.88.71.03.10.5
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -8.26.25.60.70.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 28.931.132.332.331.7
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 27.028.730.930.229.8
Trade Balance (million USD) -128,558-152,449-160,649-171,724-168,731
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -54,920-64,232-47,050-59,202-53,883
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 55.959.863.262.661.6

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
Switzerland 13.0%
United States 11.5%
Germany 8.8%
Netherlands 6.8%
France 6.4%
See More Countries 53.6%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2013
Germany 13.5%
China 8.8%
United States 8.3%
Netherlands 8.2%
France 6.2%
See More Countries 55.0%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 14.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 7.0%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.7%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas...Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 4.0%
See More Products 64.4%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 6.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.9%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.7%
Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas...Turbo-jets, turbo-propellers and other gas turbines 2.5%
See More Products 78.6%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 
 

Main Services

- bn USD of services exported in 2011
30.61%
22.11%
12.61%
11.94%
5.57%
5.00%
4.83%
3.53%
1.57%
1.35%
0.90%
- bn USD of services imported in 2011
28.22%
26.82%
17.69%
6.80%
5.90%
4.17%
3.54%
3.40%
1.95%
0.94%
0.57%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

Return to top

Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
British Monarchy
Parliament
Prime Minister's Office
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF)
Department of Trade and Industry
Directorate of Standardization (Dstan)
Inland Revenue
Statistical Office
Office for National Statistics
Central Bank
Bank of England
Stock Exchange
FTSE The Index Company
London Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Yahoo! UK
250000
AltaVista.co.uk
Curry Guide
Excite.co.uk
GBP
Hotbot.uk
Lifestyle UK
Lycos.co.uk
Mirago
Mugomilk
Netscape.uk
Search.uk
Splut
UK Directory
UK Index
UK Plus
WhatsNew.com
Yell
Economic Portals
Economy Watch

Return to top

Political Outline

Executive Power
Queen is the chief of the state. Though her role is in reality largely ceremonial, the Queen does continue to exercise three essential rights: the right to be consulted, the right to advice and the right to warn. Following legislative elections of the lower house of the parliament, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed as Prime minister by the Queen to serve a five-year term.

Prime Minister is the head of the government and enjoys all the executive powers that include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The Cabinet of Ministers is appointed by the Prime Minister.

Legislative Power
The legislature is bicameral in UK. The Parliament consists of: House of Lords (the upper house) having approximately 625 life peers, 92 hereditary peers and 26 clergy, and House of Commons (the lower house) having 646 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The government is directly answerable to and dependent on the Parliament.
Main Political Parties
The three dominant parties:
- Labour Party: left-wing socialist and social democratic, grew out of trade union movement in the 19th century
- Conservative Party: centre-right; believes in free-market economy, strong military and traditional cultural values
- Liberal Democrats: centrist, moderate pro-European, opposed the Iraq war and strong on civil rights
Among other parties, the UK Indpendence Party (UKIP): Euro-skeptic, right-wing populist, is expected to make a relatively strong showing in the upcoming 2015 elections.
Current Political Leaders
Queen: ELIZABETH II (since February 1952).
Prime Minister: David Cameron (since May 2010), Conservative Party.
Next Election Dates
House of Commons: June 2015
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
33/180
Evolution:
4 places down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

Return to top

Any Comments About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Last Updates: February 2015