Top 10 Country GDP Ranking History 1960 – 2017

Here’s a fascinating dynamic animated graphic from the The Visual Capitalist website.

It shows the GDP ranking history of the top ten countries for 57 years, fro 1960 to 2017. The GDP [Gross Domestic Product] data is from the World Bank.

The points I note from this graphic are that the UK, and France jockey for position over the years. The absence of Germany in the early years is due to them only providing their GDP data to the World Bank from 1970.

The rise of and fall of Japan is to some degree a reflection in currency movement. All the data is in dollars. China’s rise in the ranking in is such a short period is staggering. It’s similarly intersting to see India rising up the ranking, and also to see Italy’s fall.

World Bank releases ‘Doing Business 2015’ report

The World Bank yesterday announced the 12th edition of its Economy Rankings, which measures the ease of Doing Business in 189 countries.

Ease of Doing Business 2014I’ve commented on the Doing Business report for 2013 where the UK was 7th in the ranking, and for 2014 where we’d slipped to 9th. In the 2011 report we were placed 6th. So over recent years other nations have being overtaking us in ease of doing business. Not good.

It’s pleasing therefore that in the Doing Business 2015 report that the UK has reversed this trend, and we are placed 8th. Well ahead of economies, such as Germany 14th, Japan 29th and France 31st. Both India and China don’t fare well, being placed 142nd and 90th respectively.

It’s also pleasing that the UK had performed well in this year’s report, with its revised method of calculation, which the Financial Times describes as,

moving away from the past method of ranking countries by an aggregate of their scores in various areas such as how long it takes to register a business or how easy it is to pay tax. Instead, the bank has constructed a “Distance to Frontier (DTF)” score/index that is meant to be a better measure of countries’ progress against the best practice “frontier”.

In fact, the Doing Business 2015 report finds that using the new measurement methodology,

“local entrepreneurs in 123 economies saw improvements in their regulatory environment in the past year. From June 2013 to June 2014, the report, which covers 189 economies worldwide, documented 230 business reforms—with 145 aimed at reducing the complexity and cost of complying with business regulations, and 85 aimed at strengthening legal institutions. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the largest number of reforms.”

Improvements to ease of doing business are important underpinnings to global growth,  and will help improve business start ups in emerging economies.

Now back to the UK. I wrote about last year’s report, saying, “It still amazes at how lowly we are ranked in getting connected to electricity, 74th, and that this has worsened in the last year by 10 points. Looking at the detail it takes 126 days to get a connection. Bad, Bad, Bad.” Well, the 2015 report shows little or no improvement in this indicator. Also, the UK shows marginal changes in most other indicators.

My overall report marking for the UK: In a highly competitive world where many countries are making big improvements, the UK must do better next year.

Surrey Heath’s economy performing not quite so well as our neighbours

In association with credit checking and business data company Experian, the Daily Telegraph offers an interactive tool that displays economic performance by local authority and by region. The authors of the article in the Daily Telegraph open with,

“The UK economy expanded by 0.8pc in the third quarter, as three months of upbeat surveys and growing confidence translated into the fastest rate of growth in three years.

But while headline figures illustrate how the economy is performing overall, a more detailed breakdown reveals that growth rates in different parts of the country vary by up to one percentage point. The disparity between local authorities is even larger.”

Economic Performance

To save you the effort of comparing Surrey Heath’s performance to nearby borough’s I’ve created a comparative list, with local authority name first, then the average annual growth forecast 2014-19, and then year on year growth forecast to 2013 Qtr 3.

  • Surrey Heath: Av. annual growth forecast, 2.63%: YonY growth forecast to 2013 Qtr3, 1.64%
  • Windsor and Maidenhead: 3.06%: 2.60%
  • Bracknell Forest: 2.81%: 1.81%
  • Woking: 2.72%: 1.81%
  • Runnymede: 2.55%: 2.75%
  • Hart: 2.42%: 1.29%
  • Guildford: 2.29%: 2.15%

It appears that Surrey Heath’s year on year growth up to quarter 3 this year is significantly lower than neighbouring boroughs. Success for the Camberley Town Centre Area Action Plan is important factor in securing Surrey Heath’s economic growth.

As with anything to do with economic forecasts, they are that, just a forecast. Albeit based on some underlying data, which is not published with the interactive tool.

The UK retains its postion in the World Bank’s 2014 Economy Rankings

Economy Ranking 2014At the end of October The World Bank released its 2014 Economy Rankings, which measure the ease of doing business in 189 countries.

Having slipped from 6th place in the Doing Business rankings in 2011, and to 7th place in 2012, and then to 10th place in 2013, in 2014 the UK retains its position at number 10. 

In the Daily Telegraph Louise Armistead observes,

“The Government will be disappointed by the view that starting a business is relatively hard in the UK. Last year the UK was ranked 19th on this measure, taking 13 days to complete. This year the survey found it only takes 12 days to start a company but the UK has fallen down the rankings to 28th. In Afghanistan it takes just five days to start a company.

Britain has improved its competitiveness on business taxes with the proportion of profit taken by the state falling from 37.3pc to 34pc but the cost of electricity has soared from 72.3pc of income per capita to 91.9pc.”

So, we’ve still work to do to hold our place at number 10. It is some comfort that the UK is well ahead of Germany, ranked 22nd overall; Japan ranked 27th; France ranked 38th, and Italy at 65th. With the UK’s territorial entanglements with Spain and Argentina, it’s also worth noting that they rank 52nd and 126th respectively.

It still amazes at how lowly we are ranked in getting connected to electricity, 74th, and that this has worsened in the last year by 10 points. looking at the detail it takes 126 days to get a connection. Bad, Bad, Bad.

Fact: The UK slips down ‘ease of doing business’ table

The last of my fact mini-series is how the UK has slipped a place in the World Bank’s 2012 Economy Rankings. In the 2011 rankings, the UK was placed 6th. In the 2012 Rankings it’s slipped to 7th.

What does surprise in the rankings is that, out of the 185 economies assessed, the UK is only 62nd in getting connected to electricity, and only 73rd for registering a property, which as Philip Aldrick says in his article shows we’ve more to do to make the UK more business friendly,

“With the exception of corporation tax, the Doing Business 2013 survey made no mention of the UK’s efforts to improve business conditions. On the other hand, bureaucratic delays relating to property registration and construction permits caused the country to lose ground, while other nations made more inroads into red tape.”

We must do better in all the categories. Philip Aldrick continues,

“The study found that the countries with the best regulatory environment grow by as much as 2.3 percentage points faster than those with the worst . “Smarter business regulation supports economic growth. Simpler business registration promotes greater entrepreneurship, while lower-cost registration improves employment opportunities,” the report said.”

Quite so. We’ve work to nationally to make sure we don’t slip further down this table.


UK rises up Global Competiveness Ranking

The World Economic Forum released its 2012-13 Global Competitiveness Rankings recently.

It’s pleasing to see the UK move up two places in the Global competitiveness Index to 8th overall. The ranking is part of the WEF’s 2012-13 Global Competitiveness Report.  Go to page 358 of the report to see the detail behind the UK’s position, and what the report views as the The most problematic factors for doing business. The top two problems, by a long way, they identify are access to funding and tax rates.

In the report’s Country Highlights of the top 10 nations, it says this about the UK,

The United Kingdom (8th) continues to make up lost ground in the rankings this year, rising by two more places and now settling firmly back in the top 10. The country improves its performance in several areas, benefitting from clear strengths such as the efficiency of its labor market (5th), in sharp contrast to the rigidity of those of many other European countries. The United Kingdom continues to have sophisticated (8th) and innovative (10th) businesses that are highly adept at harnessing the latest technologies for productivity improvements and operating in a very large market (it is ranked 6th for market size). The financial market also continues its recovery, ranked 13th, up from 20th last year. All these characteristics are important for spurring productivity enhancements.

The good news is that UK’s competitiveness continues to improve, moving up from 12th in the 2010-11 report, to 10th in the 20111-12 report, and to 8th place in this year’s report.

Have a strong cup of coffee at the ready …

…. because after reading the This is going to hurt article, by renowned editor of City am newspaper, in The Spectator, you’ll certainly need it.

The bottom line is that most Western countries have been living beyond their means for years, and the day of reckoning is approaching about their addiction to borrowing to pay for it. I’ve written a lot about our debt, Our Economic Health: Part 1 National Debt is a useful primer.

The value of David Blanchflower

It’s that man again, economist David Blanchflower predicting a thoroughly gloomy future for the UK economy in his article in today’s Guardian.

Now what was that old saw about economists – put 10 of then in a room together, and you’ll end up with 13 different opinions. Anyway, the value of David Blanchflower is that he’s a magnet for negativity on the UK economy, and therefore attracts the support of the left, who remain in denial about our financial plight. In my view, and of Fraser Nelson in The Spectator, David Blanchflower is wrong, and because he’s so wrong when GDP, hopefully, continues to grow, we’ll have all the Blanchflower supporters stranded in their negativity.

I wrote yesterday about how there are encouraging signs with in our recent GDP output figures that show there is evidence of change in the UK economy. It shows growth coming from private sector investment and not government debt-financed spending.

Of course, as an optimist I’m looking at the positives, and judgement’s about our economic growth are finely balanced. But, as I say, there’s evidence in the most recent figures that we’re moving in the right direction. Weaning ourselves of government financed growth won’t be easy. Over the last decade we’ve clobbered private sector risk takers, and I think it’ll be a quarter or two before investment confidence returns.

David Blanchflower and GDP growth

I’m now only an occasional watcher of the BBC’s Newsnight programme. But I did see last week the clash between Professor David Blanchflower and Matthew Hancock MP. Blanchflower was typically immoderate in his language, while Hancock was remarkably restrained under Blanchflower’s barrage.

Blanchflower persistently said that the imminent announcement of the numbers of the first quarter of 2011’s GDP growth of the UK economy, would surely indicate a downturn, and therefore presage a double-dip recession for the economy.

The GDP numbers, announced today, are very encouraging. They show that manufacturing production grew by 1.1%, services growing by 0.8%, and it was only construction shrinking by 4.7% that kept the overall growth low. 

The vital ingredient to private sector growth is confidence. Not the misnamed use of the word investment by Gordon Brown, which was in reality government spending. Since the Treasury has no more money, as Labour’s Liam Byrne remarked, it’s the private sector from where we need growth.

The detail in the 1st Qtr GDP numbers supports the government’s case that future growth can come from the private sector. Manufacturing, business services, agriculture/forestry/fishing, and post and telecomms, all saw healthy growth numbers of over 1%. Surprisingly, even the government contributed 0.7% to the growth numbers.

I doubt Newsnight will re-stage the discussion between Blanchflower and Hancock. Good news is not what Newsnight focusses on.