Business, Finance & Economics

Brazil overtakes UK as world's sixth-biggest economy



Antonio Scorza

Brazil now has a bigger economy than the UK, making the world's sixth-largest economic power, according to the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The London-based consultancy forecast the trend was set to continue, with Russia and India expected to overtake Europe's other major economies, France and Germany, by 2020.

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Brazil grew by 7.5 percent in 2010, and though growth projections are less than half that for 2011, the country has established itself as one of the world's biggest exporters. It now exports more to China than it imports from it, according to Forbes.

CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams told the BBC that Brazil's ascendancy was part of a wider pattern:

"I think it's part of the big economic change, where not only are we seeing a shift from the west to the east, but we're also seeing that countries that produce vital commodities—food and energy and things like that—are doing very well and they're gradually climbing up the economic league table."

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CEBR's World Economic League Table puts the US as the world's biggest economy in 2011, followed by China and Japan. Those rankings are predicted to remain stable over the next nine years.

However, numbers four and five—currently held by Germany and France—are expected to be filled by Russia (currently nine) and India (ten) respectively by 2020. Germany would fall to number seven, CEBR said, and France to number nine. Brazil is forecast to remain stable at number six, while the UK (now seven) will overtake France but still drop to eighth. Italy (eight) is expected to fall to tenth.

Europe also faces a decade of slow growth as a result of 20 years of easy credit, according to the Guardian. "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 paper reported.

CEBR predicts world growth will falling to 2.5 percent in 2012, which is already a downward revision of its forecast in September. If the eurozone crisis leads to sovereign defaults, banking collapses and countries leaving the euro, however, next year's world growth is expected to be even lower, at just 1.1 percent.

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