UK economy shame: How the UK compares with other countries after Covid GDP drop

UK economy: 'It's going to be a difficult few months' says expert

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Since the Covid pandemic arrived in early 2020, it has impacted economies around the world in different ways. Many have faced unprecedented challenges with nations electing to deploy full lockdowns, forcing businesses to stop trading altogether. Consequently, this had a knock-on effect on the value of each country’s GDP. Now, as we prepare to reach the second anniversary of the pandemic beginning, how has the UK’s GDP been influenced?

According to The Economist, the value of the UK’s GDP fell by 2.1 percent between 2019 and 2021.

Specifically, the data relates to the period within the fourth quarter of 2019 – shortly before the Covid pandemic was declared in the UK – and the third quarter of 2021.

GDP is a measure of the size and health of a country’s economy over a period of time.

Typically, this measure is re-calculated for every financial quarter of the year.

The decrease in the UK’s GDP helps to illustrate the financial impacts that Covid has had on the economy.

Compared with other nations, the UK was not alone in witnessing decreases in GDP value.

Italy, Canada and Japan all saw their GDP drop by more than one percent.

In fact, Spain’s GDP fell more than three times further than the UK, with a difference of -6.6 percent.

Despite the financial impacts of Covid, the value of GDP in some countries increased within the same period.

Ireland was the biggest winner, seeing its GDP rise by 22.3 percent in value.

Indeed, in 2020, exports from Ireland grew by 9.5 percent, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), representing a value of almost €500 million (£418.22 million).

Imports also declined by 7.4 percent. This meant the value of net exports was €76 billion (£63.57 billion) higher than 2019.

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The country whose GDP grew by the next highest amount was Chile, which posted a growth rate of 10.4 percent.

Norway and Poland enjoyed more than three percent increases in their GDP values to 3.5 and 3.1 percent respectively.

While two more Scandinavian countries – Sweden and Denmark – also saw positive growth.

Here, the GDP for both nations rose by 2.1 percentage points.

Is it all bad news for the UK?

Heading into 2022, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) had ranked the UK as the world’s fifth-largest economy.

The UK would have been the largest European economy in its World Economic League Table were it not for Germany, who finished one place ahead in fourth.

The only other countries to place ahead of the UK were the US – who finished top – China and Japan.

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