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Britain is world’s fifth-largest economy again after overtaking India despite coronavirus recession

Britain is the world’s fifth-largest economy again after overtaking India despite being in the grip of deep recession during coronavirus pandemic

  • League table produced by Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR)
  • UK is set to push further ahead of seventh-placed France in decade after Brexit
  • Climb back up league table is despite fall in GDP in first half of 2020 of 21.2%  

Britain has become the world’s fifth-largest economy once again, despite suffering a deep recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

According to the annual league table produced by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), the UK has leapfrogged India and is set to push further ahead of seventh-placed France in the decade after Brexit. 

Britain had fallen behind India to be the sixth-largest economy last year but the Asian nation has been pushed back below the UK in dollar terms following a deep recession related to the coronavirus pandemic and a steep fall in the rupee.

The UK’s climb back up the league table is despite a cumulative fall in GDP in the first half of 2020 of 21.2 per cent as the first national lockdown – imposed in March – hammered the economy.  

The leading CEBR also forecast that China would overtake America as the biggest economy in the world in 2028, five years earlier than expected.  

Britain has become the world’s fifth-largest economy once again, despite suffering a deep recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

Britain is expected to have suffered the deepest recession of all leading G7 nations this year. 

The domestic independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), predicts an annual average growth rate of 3.4 per cent.

However, the CEBR is more optimistic, saying the annual growth rate will be an average of 4 per cent until 2025. 

From 2026 to 2030, the body says the growth rate will be 1.8 per cent annually. 

By 2035, UK GDP in dollars is forecast to be 23 per cent more than traditional economic rival France. 

But the CEBR does also predict that the UK will be once again overtaken by India in the economic league tables in 2024, meaning it will slip back to sixth place overall. 

On India, the CEBR said: ‘India’s economy had been losing momentum even ahead of the shock delivered by the COVID-19 crisis.’

They pointed out that GDP growth sank to a more than ten-year low of 4.2 per cent in 2019. 

They added: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has been a human and an economic catastrophe for India.’  

The CEBR’s report, which was published before the UK’s deal with the EU was announced on Thursday, comes after news last week that the UK economy grew by 16 per cent between July and September. 

It represents the largest quarterly expansion in the UK economy every recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since records began in 1955.

The UK's climb back up the league table is despite a cumulative fall in GDP in the first half of 2020 of 21.2 per cent as the first national lockdown - imposed in March - hammered the economy

The UK’s climb back up the league table is despite a cumulative fall in GDP in the first half of 2020 of 21.2 per cent as the first national lockdown – imposed in March – hammered the economy

The ONS data also revealed the shocking GDP plunge in the first half of 2020.

The economy shrunk three per cent in the first quarter between January and March before plummeting 18.8 per cent in the second quarter as draconian coronavirus restrictions hit hard.   

Despite the massive bounce back in the third quarter, the ONS said that UK GDP was still 8.6 per cent below where it was before the pandemic.  

Meanwhile, Government borrowing remains at record levels as the UK’s national debt continues to climb above £2trillion, with debt now at its highest level since 1962.    



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