Brazil overtakes UK as sixth biggest economy as Britain falls behind a South American nation for the first time
Figures show a dramatic illustration of changing global fortunes
China, Japan, Germany, France and the U.S. occupy the top five places
Brazil fast-becoming one of the powerhouses of the global economy
By Nick Fagge
Last updated at 1:01 AM on 26th December 2011
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Britain has been deposed by Brazil as the sixth largest economy in the world, latest figures show.
In a dramatic illustration of changing global economic fortunes, the UK has fallen behind a South American nation for the first time.
The figures, from the Centre for Economic and Business Research’s annual world economic league table, show Britain is now the seventh richest country in the world.
The U.S., China, Japan, Germany and France occupy the top five places.
More often associated with football and dirt-poor shanty towns known as favelas, Brazil is fast becoming one of the powerhouses of the global economy.
The largest country in Latin America, its economy has surged because of vast reserves of natural resources and a rapidly growing, and cash-rich, middle class.
At the same time the UK languishes in the grip of a national debt crisis and lack of bank credit. Britons continue to be better off and enjoy a far higher standard of living than the vast majority of people in Brazil but the latter’s 203million population provides huge economic clout.
‘The punching power of Brazil as a whole has overtaken Britain because of the huge economic potential of people who live there,’ Peter Slowe, a former government economic policy advisor, told the Daily Mail.
‘Brazil has a variety of natural resources to rely on including gold and silver as well as oil off-shore and minerals in the Amazon.
‘By contrast the UK economy is affected by the problems of the eurozone.’
Brazil’s stable political situation also attracts investors.
Its hard-won democracy also provides foreign investors with the peace of mind that the status quo is unlikely to be overturned by a popular revolution. Brazil floundered under a number of military dictatorships throughout the 20th century until civilian control was established in 1985.
The rapid economic development in the huge South American state is likely to come at the expense of the Amazon – and its indigenous people, animals and extraordinary forests.
Dr Slowe said: ‘Brazil, unlike China, is a democracy which is much more attractive to investors.
‘This means the country is unlikely to undergo prolonged civil unrest which is likely to occur at some time in China.
‘The country has huge potential but the vast majority of their resources are in Amazon basin.
‘And the cost of exploiting this mineral wealth is the loss of the habitat and the traditions of indigenous tribes who have lived the same way since the Stone Age.’
The relegation to sixth spot is the latest blow to the British economy.
In the middle of a prolonged economic downturn and dragged into the euro crisis because of its trade relations with the Continent, the UK has also been involved in an unseemly spat with France.
London has come under sustained attack from French ministers over which country has the best economic prospects.
Although the latest figures from the CEBR would suggest the French are ahead, they also predict that Britain will leapfrog France by 2020. The CEBR says that by then the UK economy will be the eighth largest in the world, one ahead of France and two behind Brazil.
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