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World > Europe > United Kingdom > Economy (Notes)

United Kingdom - Economy (Notes)


ECONOMY
The United Kingdom has the fifth-largest economy in the world, is the second-largest economy in the European Union, and is a major international trading power. A highly developed, diversified, market-based economy with extensive social welfare services provides most residents with a high standard of living. Unemployment and inflation levels are amongst the lowest within the European Union.

Since 1979, the British Government has privatized most state-owned companies, including British Steel, British Airways, British Telecom, British Coal, British Aerospace, and British Gas, although in some cases the government retains a 'golden share' in these companies. The Labour government has continued the privatization policy of its Conservative predecessor, particularly by encouraging 'public-private partnerships' (partial privatization) in such areas as the London Underground. The economy of the United Kingdom is now primarily based on private enterprise, accounting for approximately four-fifths of employment and output.

London ranks alongside New York as a leading international financial center. London's financial exports contribute greatly to the United Kingdom's balance of payments. Ratings agencies rank the United Kingdom's banking sector as one of the strongest in the world and its banks are amongst the most profitable in the G-8. It is a global leader in emissions trading and is home to the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). It is also a government priority to make London the leading center of Islamic finance.

The United Kingdom is the European Union's only significant energy exporter. It is also one of the world's largest energy consumers, and most analysts predict a shift in U.K. status from net exporter to net importer of energy by 2020, possibly sooner. Oil production in the U.K. is leveling off. While North Sea natural gas production continues to rise, gains may be offset by ever-increasing consumption. North Sea oil and gas exploration activities are shifting to smaller fields and to increments of larger, developed fields, presenting opportunities for smaller, independent energy operators to become active in North Sea production.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - British Pound Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
British Pound Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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