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- The United Kingdom has an outsize economic impact — it’s the 80th biggest country but it has the 5th largest GDP in the world.
- The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has caused the UK economy to take a hit. The British pound has lost 14% of its value versus the US dollar since the 2016 referendum.
- Here are nine hard-to-believe facts about the UK’s economy.
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The United Kingdom’s economy has been in the global spotlight ever since the nation voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
Since then, the historic Brexit vote has spurred British companies to flee for other EU countries and sent the British pound on a roller coaster ride.
The exact parameters of the UK’s exit from the EU remain unclear, leaving the nation’s economy in a position of uncertainty. Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation last month after she wasn’t able to get her Brexit deal through Parliament, passing the terms of the exit onto a future successor.
But the UK’s economy, like its people, remain resilient. Here are 10 facts you may not have known about the UK’s economy.
The UK has the world’s 5th largest GDP despite being the 80th largest country
Despite the disruption of Brexit, the UK had a robust gross domestic product of $2.64 trillion in 2017, according to the World Bank. The country continues to have the fifth largest GDP in the world, after the US, China, Japan, and Germany.
This feat is even more impressive when you consider that the UK is 80th largest in land area — it’s roughly the size of Michigan.
The UK may not be known as an oil country, but crude petroleum was its 3rd biggest export in 2018
Luca Bruno/AP Photo
When you think of the UK you might think of rolling green hills covered by placid flocks of grazing sheep. But offshore oil rigs and Brent crude are also a big part of the UK economy.
Petroleum exports were worth $17.8 billion in 2018, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity at MIT. The CIA’s World Factbook lists the UK as the 21st largest producer of crude oil, with estimated production of 933,000 barrels a day in 2016.
The British pound sterling has lost 14% of its value versus the US dollar since the Brexit referendum in 2016
Since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, the pound has fallen 14% versus the US dollar, though the British currency has partially rebounded on several occasions. The BBC reported that UK households have each effectively lost 900 pounds, or about $1,140, because of the currency turmoil surrounding Brexit.
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