What Are the Top 10 Strongest Economies in the World?


When evaluating the state of the global economy, it really helps to know who the major players are and how their businesses and resources can effect the businesses and resources in other countries. On GradMoney, I like to talk about the economies and the respective data of many different nations to give you as sense of what is happening and why they are important. This is a helpful list to support the logic of which countries and discuss and why.

So what are the strongest economies in the world as of now? Take a look to learn more about the major players and their importance when looking at articles and reports on each. This list is based on estimates for 2017 from the IMF's World Economic Outlook Database (April 2017). For more information, you can also check out Investopedia.

1. United States

The United States economy remains the largest in the world in terms of nominal GDP. The $19.42 trillion U.S. economy is 25% of the gross world product. The United States is an economic superpower that is highly advanced in terms of technology and infrastructure and has abundant natural resources. However, the U.S. economy loses its spot as the number one economy to China when measured in terms of GDP based on PPP. In these terms, China’s GDP is $23.19 trillion exceeds the U.S. GDP of $19.42 trillion. However, the U.S. is way ahead of China in terms of GDP per capita in nominal terms as well as PPP.

2. China

China has transformed itself from a centrally-planned closed economy in the 1970s to a manufacturing and exporting hub over the years. Since it initiated market reforms in 1978, the Asian giant has achieved economic growth averaging 10% annually (though it’s slowed recently) and, in the process, lifted almost half of its 1.3 billion population out of poverty and become the undisputed second-largest economy on Earth. The Chinese economy has already overtaken the U.S. economy in terms of GDP, based on another measure known as purchasing power parity (PPP), and is estimated to pull ahead of the U.S. steadily in the following years. However, the difference between the economies in terms of nominal GDP remains large with China's $11.8 trillion economy.

3. Japan

Japan's economy has been facing hard times since 2008, when it first showed recessionary symptoms. Unconventional stimulus packages combined with subzero bond yields and weak currency have further strained the economy. Economic growth is once again positive, to about 1% in 2016 and further to around 1.2% in 2017; however, it is forecasted to stay below 1% during the next five years. The nominal GDP of Japan is $4.84 trillion, its GDP (PPP) is $5.42 trillion, and its GDP (PPP) per capita is $42,860.

4. Germany

Germany is Europe’s largest and strongest economy, however on the world scale, it now ranks as the fourth largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. Germany’s economy is known for its exports of machinery, vehicles, household equipment, and chemicals. Germany has a skilled labor force, but the economy is facing countless of challenges in the coming years ranging from Brexit to the refugee crisis. The size of its nominal GDP is $3.42 trillion, while its GDP in terms of purchasing power parity is $4.13 trillion. Germany’s GDP (PPP) per capita is $49,814, and the economy has moved at a moderate pace of 1-2% in recent years and is forecasted to stay that way.

5. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, with a $2.5 trillion GDP, is currently the world’s fifth largest. Its GDP in terms of PPP is slightly higher at $2.91 trillion while its GDP (PPP) per capita is $44,001. The economy of the UK is primarily driven by services, as the sector contributes more than 75% of the GDP. With agriculture contributing a minimal 1%, manufacturing is the second most important contributor to GDP. Although agriculture is not a major contributor to GDP, 60% of the U.K.’s food needs is produced domestically, even though less than 2% of its labor force is employed in the sector.

6. India

India is the sixth largest economy in the world with a nominal GDP of $2.45 trillion. The country ranks third in GDP in terms of purchasing power parity at $9.49 trillion. The country’s high population drags its GDP (PPP) per capita down to $1,850. India’s GDP is still highly dependent on agriculture (17%), compared to western countries.

7. France

France, the most visited country in the world, is now the seventh largest economies with a nominal GDP of $2.42 trillion. Its GDP in terms of purchasing power parity is around $2.83 trillion. France has a low poverty rate and high standard of living, which is reflected in its GDP (PPP) per capita of $43,652. The country is among the top exporters and importers in the world. France has experienced a slowdown over the past few years and the government is under immense pressure to rekindle the economy, as well as combat high unemployment.

8. Brazil

With its $2.14 trillion economy, Brazil now ranks as the eight largest economy by nominal GDP. The Brazilian economy has developed services, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors, with each sector contributing around 68%, 26%, and 6% respectively. Brazil is one of the BRIC countries, and was projected to continue to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, the recession in 2015 caused Brazil to go from seventh to ninth place in the world economies ranking, with a negative growth rate of 3.6% (2016).

9. Italy

Italy’s $1.81 trillion economy is the world’s ninth largest in terms of nominal GDP. Italy is among the prominent economies of the Eurozone, but it has been impacted by the debt crisis in the region. The economy suffers from a huge public debt estimated to be about 133% of GDP, and its banking system is close to a collapse and in need of a bailout/bail-in. The economy is also facing high unemployment, but saw a positive economic growth in 2014 (0.1%) for the first time since 2011, which is projected to continue.

10. Canada

Canada took over Russia to feature as the tenth largest economy in 2015. It’s $1.6 trillion is expected to touch $1.9 trillion by 2022, maintaining its lead over Russia. Canada has a highly service-oriented economy, and has had solid growth in manufacturing as well as in the oil and petroleum sector since the Second World War. However, the country is very exposed to commodity prices, and the decline in oil prices kept the economic growth relatively depressed.

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