The economy of the United Kingdom is the fifth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP), ninth-largest in the world measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), and nineteenth-largest in the world measured by GDP per capita, comprising 4% of world GDP. It is the second-largest economy in the European Union by both metrics. In Q1 2017, the UK had the lowest GDP growth in Europe, with the fifth lowest unemployment rate.
In 2016, the UK was the tenth-largest goods exporter in the world and the fifth-largest goods importer. In 2015, the UK had the fourth-largest inward foreign direct investment, and in 2013 the UK had the second-largest outward foreign direct investment. It is one of the most globalised economies, and is composed of (in descending order of size) the economies of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The service sector dominates the UK economy, contributing around 78% of GDP; the financial services industry is particularly important, and London is the world’s largest international financial centre. Britain’s aerospace industry is the second- or third-largest national aerospace industry depending on the method of measurement. Its pharmaceutical industry plays an important role in the economy and the UK has the third-highest share of global pharmaceutical research and development. Of the world’s 500 largest companies, 26 are headquartered in the UK. The British economy is boosted by North Sea oil and gas production; its reserves were estimated at 2.9 billion barrels in 2015, although it has been a net importer of oil since 2005. There are significant regional variations in prosperity, with South East England and North East Scotland being the richest areas per capita. The size of London’s economy makes it the largest city by GDP in Europe.
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