Richard Willis's Blog

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The UK’s Place in the World – 2012

Last year I posted an article listing the World’s top 20 economies. This sparked some interest and I thought it would be good to update it with the figures from the Economist’s 2012 edition. This year Iran has dropped out of the top 20 to be replaced by Saudi Arabia, India has overtaken Italy, and Brazil is poised to overtake the UK for the number 6 slot. If we want to remain in the top six we will need to overtake France!

One cautionary note is that currency fluctuations against the US Dollar can affect the numbers quite a bit but it is a recognised and respected way of comparing national economies.

Here are the statistics for the top 20 world economies. The number in brackets is the population and the following figure is the US Dollar denominated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure for 2012, according to the respected Economist magazine:

  1. USA (316.3m) – $15,604bn
  2. China (1,328m) – $8,130bn
  3. Japan (126.1m) – $6,410bn
  4. Germany (81.7m) – $3,488bn
  5. France (63.6m) – $2,732bn
  6. UK (63.1m) – $2,511bn
  7. Brazil (194.7m) – $2,502bn
  8. India (1,220m) – $2,367bn
  9. Italy (61.0m) – $2,201bn
  10. Russia (141.2m) – $1,926bn
  11. Canada (34.7m) – $1,788bn
  12. Spain (46.3m) – $1,537bn
  13. Australia (22.9m) – $1,396bn
  14. Mexico (115m) – $1,100bn
  15. South Korea (49.8m) – $1,245bn
  16. Indonesia (248.2m) – $989bn
  17. Netherlands (16.7m) – $827bn
  18. Turkey (74.7m) – $729bn
  19. Switzerland (8m) – $638bn
  20. Saudi Arabia (28.9m) – $584bn

(Source: The Economist)


March 2, 2012 - Posted by | International


  1. I bet you a tenner that we will drop two places before the end of 2013.

    Comment by Gideon Mack | March 3, 2012 | Reply

  2. Calculate the economy per capita and you get a very different order!

    Comment by Alan Green | March 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Alan – that’s true but not very meaningful. An island population of a few thousand could be wealthy per capita but insignificant in world terms.

      Comment by Richard Willis | March 4, 2012 | Reply

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