Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brazil overtakes UK as sixth-largest economy

From the Guardian:

Brazil has overtaken the UK to become the world's sixth-largest economy, according to a team of economists. The banking crash of 2008 and the subsequent recession has relegated the UK to seventh place in 2011, behind South America's largest economy, which has boomed on the back of exports to China and the far east.

Russia and India are expected to benefit from a surge in growth over the next 10 years and push the UK into eighth place. Like most economies, India is struggling with high inflation and slowing growth, but its highly educated workforce and skills in growth areas from IT and services to engineering will push the economy into fifth place. After a decade of selling oil and gas to Europe and other parts of Asia, Russia will be at number four.

The only compensation for ministers concerned by Britain's relative fall is that France will fall at a faster pace. Nicolas Sarkozy can still boast that France is the fifth-largest economy behind the US at number one, China, Japan and Germany, but by 2020, the Centre for Economics and business Research (CEBR) forecasts it will fall past the UK into ninth spot. Germany will also slip to seventh place in 2020.

CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams said: "Brazil has beaten the European countries at soccer for a long time, but beating them at economics is a new phenomenon. Our world economic league table shows how the economic map is changing, with Asian countries and commodity-producing economies climbing up the league while we in Europe fall back."

Europe is expected to suffer a "lost decade" of low growth following a credit binge over the past 20 years. Paying back debts over a short timescale will restrict growth and prevent many countries, including the UK, from clawing back output lost in the banking crash for many years.

The European Union, recently described by one Chinese official as "a worn-out welfare society", will remain the world's largest collective trading bloc, though a recession next year is expected to hit global growth. The latest forecasts by the CEBR show world growth falling to 2.5% in 2012, a downward revision from the forecast made in September.

However, the CEBR warned a scenario involving "one or more countries leaving the euro, sovereign defaults and banks going bust and needing to be bailed out" would reduce global growth in 2012 to 1.1%. The European growth slowdown is forecast to be even more marked, with a fall in GDP by 0.6% and a possible fall of 2% if the euro currency club breaks up. The US forecast is better, with growth of 1.8%.Emerging economies, which have seen their stock markets dive in recent months as investors assess the fallout from the euro crisis, would regain their momentum, said the CEBR.

China is forecast to grow by 7.6% and India by 6%. But other recent star economies with closer links to the EU or commodity prices are likely to face an economic slowdown with Turkish growth slowing to 2.5% from 7.1% this year, Saudi Arabia at 4% after 6.1% this year, Russia 2.8% after 3.8% this year, and Brazil 2.5% after 2.8% this year.


Subprime: It's amazing as the old players (EU, US) decline while the new players rise up. Brazil, which was once relegated as a backwater banana republic has soared on the economic scale. For those that speak Portuguese perhaps Brazil can be a new home as the US stagnates.


  1. While worn out welfare state is a cute turn of phrase, that can't really be the issue. After all, Scandanavia is doing quite well and is doesn't get much more welfare state than among the Nordics.

  2. Brazil is a country that I have thought about moving to so I know about its economic policies.

    Brazil has been developing a strong welfare state, and, ignoring conservative arguments about "free markets" like those of the IMF. In fact, under IMF policies, much of Latin America found itself facing economic downturns much like Europe and the UK.

    In fact, the UK has followed conservative "austerity" economic polices under both the Tories and Labour.

    Much of Brazil's growth can be placed at the door steps of uplifting its people to the middle class rather than engaging in predatory free market practices that destroys the middle class.

    The welfare states of China is also growing as an attempt to grow its domestic market. Again contrast this to the U.S. and Europe.

    The economic data on whether non-conservative policies work may not be clear, but the data on the failures of conservative economic policies both domestic and abroad is conclusive. By non-conservative, I don't mean leftist. There are many theories of economics.

  3. I agree with previous post that 90s in LA were very bad during the neoliberalism. But the same neoliberalism helped to restart their grow and helped to deal with macroeconomic crisis. Brazil is a typical example, because the politics of Cardoso and Mello helped to stabilize the economy, while Worker party switched its ideology to the center and proclaimed the current economic system (free trade, IMF) can´t be reversed.
    Even in US, we have different opinions on this topic.. US government causing subprime crisis. And there were conducted various researches about the cause of the debt crisis and each came to different conclusion.

  4. (a) Let me repeat: Brazil's economy is not Neoliberal. Its a repudiation of Neoliberalism.

    (b) Mos of Latin America, and indeed, many of the BRICS economies are steering clear of Neolibealism.

    (c) If you want to impoverish your economy, you follow Neoliberal policies, because the policies are focused on capital rather than who benefits from capital.


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