ICAEW chart of the week: IMF World Economic Outlook Update

My chart for ICAEW this week illustrates how countries rank in the IMF’s latest forecasts for economic growth over 2024 and 2025.

IMF World Economic Outlook Update
ICAEW chart of the week

(Horizontal bar chart)

Legend:

Emerging markets and developing economies (green)
World (purple)
Advanced economies (blue)
UK (red)

Projected annualised real GDP growth 2024 and 2025

Bars in green except where noted.

India: +6.5%
Philippines: +6.0%
Indonesia: +5.0%
Kazakhstan: +4.4%
China: +4.3%
Malaysia: +4.3%
Saudi Arabia: +4.3%
Egypt: +3.8%
Iran: +3.4%
Thailand: +3.2%
Türkiye: +3.1%
World Output: +3.1% (purple)
Nigeria: +3.0%
Poland: +3.0%
Pakistan: +2.7%
World Growth: +2.6% (purple)
South Korea: +2.3% (blue)
Mexico: +2.1%
United States: +1.9% (blue)
Canada: +1.8% (blue)
Russia: +1.8%
Brazil: +1.8%
Spain: +1.8% (blue)
Australia: +1.7% (blue)
France: +1.3% (blue)
South Africa: +1.1%
United Kingdom: +1.1% (red)
Germany: +1.0% (blue)
Argentina: +1.0%
Netherlands: +1.0% (blue)
Italy: +0.9% (blue)
Japan: +0.8% (blue)


8 Feb 2024.
Chart by Martin Wheatcroft FCA. Design by Sunday.
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook Update, 30 Jan 2024.

(c) ICAEW 2024

Each January, the International Money Fund (IMF) traditionally releases an update to its World Economic Outlook forecasts for the global economy. This year it says that it expects the global economy to grow by an average of 2.6% over the course of 2024 and 2025 at market exchange rates, or by 3.1% when using the economists-preferred method of converting currencies at purchasing power parity (PPP).

The chart shows how the 30 countries tracked by the IMF fit between emerging market and developing economies, most of which are growing faster than the global averages, and advanced economies, which tend to grow less quickly. 

The biggest drivers of the global forecast are the US, China and the EU, with both the US and China expected by the IMF to grow less strongly on average over the next two years than in 2023. This contrasts with an improvement over 2023 (which involved a shrinking economy in Germany) by the advanced national economies in the EU over the next two years – apart from Spain, which is expected to fall back from a strong recovery in 2023. 

Growth in emerging and developing countries is expected to average 4.1% over the two years, led by India (now the world’s fifth largest national economy after the US, China, Germany and Japan), followed by the Philippines, Indonesia, Kazakhstan growing faster than China, followed by Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Thailand and Türkiye. 

Nigeria, Poland and Pakistan are expected to grow slightly less than world economic output, followed by Mexico. 

Russia, Brazil and South Africa are expected to grow less strongly, while Argentina is expected to grow the least, with a forecast contraction in 2024 expected to be followed by a strong recovery in 2025.

The strongest-growing of the advanced economies in the IMF analysis continues to be South Korea, followed by the US, Canada, Spain, Australia, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, with Japan expected to have the lowest average growth. Overall, the advanced economies are expected to grow by an average of 1.6% over the next two years.

For the UK, forecast average growth of 1.0% over the next two years is expected to be faster than the 0.5% estimated for 2023, but at 0.6% in 2024 and 1.6% in 2025 we may not feel that much better off in the current year.

Of course, forecasts are forecasts, which means they are almost certainly wrong. However, they do provide some insight into the state of the world economy and how it appears to be recovering the pandemic.

For further information, read the IMF World Economic Outlook Update.

More data

Not shown in the chart are the estimate for 2023 and the breakdown in 2024 and 2025, so for those who are interested, the forecast percentage growth numbers are as follows:

Emerging market and developing countries:

CountryAverage over
2024 and 2025
2023
Estimate
2024
Forecast
2025
Forecast
India6.5%6.7%6.5%6.5%
Philippines6.0%5.3%6.0%6.1%
Indonesia5.0%5.0%5.0%5.0%
Kazakhstan4.4%4.8%3.1%5.7%
China4.3%5.2%4.6%4.1%
Malaysia4.3%4.0%4.3%4.4%
Saudi Arabia4.1%-1.1%2.7%5.5%
Egypt3.8%3.8%3.0%4.7%
Iran3.4%5.4%3.7%3.2%
Thailand3.2%2.5%4.4%2.0%
Türkiye3.1%4.0%3.1%3.2%
Nigeria3.0%2.8%3.0%3.1%
Poland3.0%0.6%2.8%3.2%
Pakistan2.7%-0.2%2.0%3.5%
Mexico2.1%3.4%2.7%1.5%
Russia1.8%3.0%2.6%1.1%
Brazil1.8%3.0%2.6%1.1%
South Africa1.1%0.6%1.0%1.3%
Argentina1.0%-1.1%-2.8%5.0%

Advanced economies (including the UK): 

CountryAverage over
2024 and 2025
2023
Estimate
2024
Forecast
2025
Forecast
South Korea2.3%1.4%2.3%2.3%
USA1.9%2.5%2.1%1.7%
Canada1.8%1.1%1.4%2.3%
Spain1.8%1.1%1.4%2.3%
Australia1.7%1.8%1.4%2.1%
France1.3%0.8%1.0%1.7%
UK1.1%0.5%0.6%1.6%
Germany1.0%-0.3%0.5%1.6%
Netherlands1.0%0.2%0.7%1.3%
Italy0.9%0.7%0.7%1.1%
Japan0.8%1.9%0.9%0.8%

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: BRICS+

The ICAEW chart of the week returns from its summer holidays to look at the planned expansion of BRICS from five to 11 countries.

Venn diagram showing the G20, G7, BRICS, and BRICS+:

G20 in green, encompassing G7 in teal with USA, Japan, Canada and UK plus in blue with dotted line around Germany, France, Italy and the European Union (the EU members of the G7).

Then five countries in G20, but not in the G7, BRICS or BRICS+, being Korea, Australia, Mexico, Indonesia and Türkiye.

Tne BRICS+ in purple with Argentina and Saudi Arabia followed by BRICS in orange with Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Still in the BRICS+ purple, but outside the G20 green are Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt and UAE.

Sources: G20, G7, BRICS.

Footnote gives share of global GDP: G20 86%. G7 52% (USA 26%, EU 17%), KAMIT 7%, BRICS 25%, BRICS+ 28%.

“The BRICs” was originally coined by Jim O’Neill in 2001 as an abbreviation for Brazil, Russia, India and China, four fast-growing economies that he predicted would come to dominate the world economy.

This investment shorthand evolved into something more substantive in 2006 when ministers from the four countries got together on the sidelines of a meeting at the UN. Leader summits started in 2009, followed by the addition of South Africa in 2011, which resulted in the capitalisation of the final ‘s’ to form BRICS. 

BRICS has developed over time to become a counterweight to the G7, providing an alternative forum for leaders of these five major nations to discuss common concerns such as economic development, currency stability, climate change, and tackling drug trafficking and organised crime. BRICS has been increasingly important to Russia since its ejection from the G7 (then the G8) following its invasion of Crimea in 2014 and to China as relations with the G7 have deteriorated over the last decade.

The most recent summit (the 15th) was on 22-24 August 2023, at which it was announced that six additional countries would be joining on 1 January 2024 to bring the number of members to 11.

Our chart this week takes the form a Venn diagram to illustrate how BRICS, and the expanded “BRICS+” grouping (pending a new official name), fit with two other major intergovernmental organisations where leaders meet on a regular basis – the G7 and the G20.

It starts with the G20, a grouping of 19 nations and the European Union that together represent 86% of the global economy. Within this sit the eight members of the G7 group of advanced economies, representing 52% of the global economy: the USA (26%), Japan (4%), the UK (3%), Canada (2%), Germany (4%), France (3%), Italy (2%) and the European Union (17% including Germany, France and Italy). The five BRICS nations represent 25% of the global economy comprising: Brazil (2%), Russia (1.7%), India (4%), China (17%) and South Africa (0.4%).

The diagram is complicated by the expanded BRICS+ as although invitees Argentina (0.6%) and Saudi Arabia (1.0%) are also members of the G20, the other four new members – Ethiopia (0.2%), Iran (0.3%), Egypt (0.3%) and the United Arab Emirates (0.5%) – are outside the G20. These new members together represent 3% of the global economy, taking the expanded BRICS+ to 28%.

Squeezed between the G7 and BRICS+ are five G20 members that together make up around 7% of the global economy that are not in either grouping, being (South) Korea (1.6%), Australia (1.6%), Mexico (1.8%), Indonesia (1.4%) and Türkiye (0.8%). As yet there is no sign of an intergovernmental organisation for these “KAMIT” nations to complement the G7 and BRICS, although in practice they are often invited as guests to G7 summits in addition to their participation in meetings of the G20.

The attraction of intergovernmental forums such as the G7, BRICS and the G20 is that they enable national leaders to engage directly with their counterparts on a wide range of topics, in contrast to the often narrower focus and more formal diplomatic structures of treaty-based international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation Development (OECD), the World Bank or the Organisation of American States (OAS) for example.

Their informal nature gives national leaders more flexibility to (for example) change their memberships without lengthy treaty negotiations or to work together on pressing issues of mutual concern. However, that informality also makes it difficult to create binding resolutions, which is perhaps why the global alternative reserve currency proposed at the first BRICS summit in 2009 had still not been implemented by the time of the 15th summit this August. 

Read more: G20G7BRICS.

ICAEW chart of the week: China population

Our chart this week follows the news that China’s population has peaked at just over 1.4bn, illustrating the dramatic change that has taken place over the last 40 years.

Step chart showing the change between China's population in 1981 and 2021.

997m in 1981, comprising 765m age 0-39, 228m age 40-79 and 4m age 80+.

+776m births
- 332m deaths
- 15m net migration

= 1,426m in 2021 comprising 735m age 0-39, 658m age 40-79 and 33m age 80+.

The news that China’s population has peaked and is starting to fall prompted us to take a look at how the country with the largest population in the world has changed over the last 40 years.

In 1981, two years after the introduction of the one-child policy, China was a young country, with a population of 997m and a median age of 21. Today it is a mature country, with a population of 1,426m and a median age of 38, approaching that of many western countries.

Our chart shows how that population has changed according to the United Nations Population Division. In July 1981, China was estimated to amount to 997m, comprising 765m under the age 40, 228m between the ages of 40 and 79, and 4m aged 80 or over. Since then, there have been 776m births, 332m deaths and net outward migration of 15m to reach a total of 1,426m in July 2021. This comprised 735m people aged between 0 and 39, 658m between 40 and 79 and 33m aged 80 or over.

The dramatic change in the age profile reflects the huge success that China has had in tackling poverty and disease, enabling many more children to survive into adulthood compared with previous generations, and to then live longer lives. Infant mortality fell from 45 per thousand births in 1981 to less than six per thousand in 2021 and life expectancy at birth increased from 65 to 78.

The rapid growth in the population over the last 40 years has slowed in recent years as the number of births has fallen and (as the population has aged) deaths have increased. There were 10.9m births in 2021 (down from 12.2m in 2020, much less than the 22.8m births in 1981) and 10.6m deaths (up from 10.3m in 2020 and much higher than the 7.4m deaths recorded in 1981). With net outward migration of 0.2m, the net increase in the population in 2021 was less than 0.1m, down from the net increase of 1.9m in 2021 and much lower than the 17.1m increase experienced in 1982 and the peak increase of 19.9m in 1990.

According to the UN’s numbers, China’s population was expected to peak this year (in 2023), with a central projection that would see the population falling by 233m the next 40 years to 1,193m in 2061, and then to 767m in 2100.

However, China’s population is now believed to have peaked already, with the National Bureau of Statistics of China announcing on 17 January 2023 that China’s population excluding foreign citizens and excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan fell by 0.85m from 1,412.6m in December 2021 to 1,411.75m at the end of 2022.

India, with an estimated population of 1,407m in July 2021 according to the UN, was expected to overtake China as the world’s largest population during 2023, but there is some speculation following China’s announcement that this has already occurred. India’s population is currently projected to continue to grow over the next 40 years and peak at 1,697m in 2064.

With the population peaking and many more people living longer lives, the fiscal challenge facing China becomes similar to those facing western nations: how to support a rapidly increasing number of pensioners at the same time as the working age population is declining.

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: Inflation around the world

This week we look at how inflation is racing upwards across the world, with the UK reporting in April one of the highest rates of increase among developed countries.

Bar chart showing inflation rates by G20 country: Russia 17.8%, Nigeria 16.8%, Poland 12.4%, Brazil 12.1%, Netherlands 9.6%, UK 9.0%, Spain 8.3%, USA 8.3%, India 7.8%, Mexico 7.7%, German 7.4%, Canada 6.8%, Italy 6.0%, South Africa 5.9%, France 4.8%, South Korea 4.8%, Indonesia 3.5%, Switzerland 2.5%, Japan 2.4%, Saudia Arabia 2.3%, China 2.1%.

Inflation has increased rapidly over the last year as the world has emerged from the pandemic. A recovery in demand combined with constraints in supply and transportation has driven prices, with myriad factors at play. These include the effects of lockdowns in China (the world’s largest supplier of goods), the devastation caused by the Russian invasion in Ukraine (a major food exporter to Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and the economic sanctions imposed on Russia (one of the world’s largest suppliers of oil and gas).

As the chart shows, the UK currently has – at 9% – the highest reported rate of consumer price inflation in the G7, as measured by the annual change in the consumer prices index (CPI) between April 2021 and April 2022. This compares with 8.3% in the USA, 7.4% in Germany, 6.8% in Canada, 6.0% in Italy, 4.8% in France and 2.4% in Japan. 

The UK’s relatively higher rate partly reflects the big jump in energy prices in April from the rise in the domestic energy price cap, which contrasts with France, for example, where domestic energy price rises have been much lower (thanks in part to state subsidies). The UK inflation rate also hasn’t been helped by falls in the value of sterling, making imported goods and food more expensive.

Other countries shown in the chart include Russia at 17.8%, Nigeria at 16.8%, Poland at 12.4%, Brazil at 12.1%, Netherlands at 9.6%, Spain at 8.3%, India at 7.8%, Mexico at 7.7%, South Africa 5.9%, South Korea at 4.8%, Indonesia at 3.5%, Switzerland at 2.5%, Saudi Arabia at 2.3% and China at 2.1%. For most countries, the rate of inflation is substantially higher than it has been for many years, reflecting just how major a change there has been in a global economy that had become accustomed to relatively stable prices in recent years. 

This is not the case for every country, and the chart excludes three hyperinflationary countries that already had problems with inflation even before the pandemic, led by Venezuela with an inflation rate of 222.3% in April, Turkey with a rate of 70%, and Argentina at 58%.

Policymakers have been alarmed at the prospect of an inflationary cycle as higher prices start to drive higher wages, which in turn will drive even higher prices. For central banks that has meant increasing interest rates to try and dampen demand, while finance ministries have been looking to see how they can protect households from the effect of rising prices, particular on energy, whether that be by intervention to constrain prices, through temporary tax cuts, or through direct or indirect financial support to struggling households.

Here in the UK, both the Bank of England and HM Treasury have been calling for restraint in wage settlements as they seek to head off a further ramp-up in inflation. They hope that inflation will start to moderate later in the year as price rises in the last six months start to drop out of the year-on-year comparison and supply constraints start to ease, for example as oil and gas production is ramped up in the USA, the Middle East and elsewhere to replace Russia as an energy supplier, and as China emerges from its lockdowns.

Despite that, prices are likely to rise further, especially in October when the energy price cap is expected to increase by 40%, following a 54% rise in April. This is likely to force many to make difficult choices as household budgets come under increasing strain.

After all, inflation is much more than the rate of change in an arbitrary index; it has an impact in the real world of diminishing spending power and in eroding the value of savings. 

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: Global population

The ICAEW chart of the week looks at how the estimated global population of almost 8bn people is distributed around the world.

Bubble chart showing estimated global population of 7,995m in 2022: South Asia 1,894m, East Asia 1,671m, South East Asia 682m, Pacific 43m, Africa 1,419, Europe 592m, Middle East 357m, Eurasia 246m, North America 511m, South America 443m and Central America & Caribbean 97m.

UN projections show that the planetary population will reach approximately 7,955m in June this year, a 1.0% increase over the 7,875m estimate for June 2021.

The largest region on our chart is South Asia, which has 1,894m inhabitants, including 1,411m in India, 216m in Pakistan, 173m in Bangladesh, 40m in Afghanistan and 31m in Nepal. This is followed in size by the 1,671m people living in East Asia, including 1,432m in mainland China (currently the most populous country in the world), 126m in Japan, 52m in South Korea and 26m in North Korea.

Africa is the third largest region with 1,419m inhabitants, with 482m living in Eastern Africa (including Ethiopia 118m, Tanzania 67m, Kenya 56m, Uganda 50m, Mozambique 34m and Madagascar 29m), 424m in Western Africa (including Nigeria 217m, Ghana 32m, Côte d’Ivoire 27m and Niger 26m), 254m in Northern Africa (including Egypt 106m, Sudan 46m, Algeria 45m and Morocco 38m), 190m in Middle Africa (including the Democratic Republic of the Congo 95m, Angola 35m and Cameroon 27m), and 69m in Southern Africa (of which 60m are in South Africa).

Excluding Russia and Belarus, Europe has 592m people, including 444m in the 27 countries of the EU (including Germany 83m, France 66m, Italy 59m, Spain 46m and Poland 38m), 68m in the UK and 43m in Ukraine, although these numbers are all before taking account of the several million Ukrainians who have been forced to flee the war and are living temporarily in other countries. 

Eurasia, comprising the Commonwealth of Independent States of Russia, Belarus and the ‘stans’ of central Asia, has 246m inhabitants (including Russia 143m and Uzbekistan 34m), while the Middle East has an estimated 357m people (including Turkey 85m, Iran 85m, Iraq 44m, Saudi Arabia 36m and Yemen 32m.

North America has 511m inhabitants (USA 336m, Mexico 137m, Canada 38m), while 97m live in Central America (52m) and the Caribbean (45m), and 443m live in South America (including Brazil 217m, Colombia 51m, Argentina 46m, Peru 34m and Venezuela 34m).

South East Asia has 682m inhabitants, including 277m in Indonesia, 113m in the Philippines, 100m in Vietnam, 70m in Thailand, 56m in Myanmar and 34m in Malaysia. A further 43m people live in the Pacific region, of which 26m are in Australia. 

Although the rate of global population growth was projected to slow significantly in recent years, from 1.3% a year in 2000 when the population was 6.1bn, to 1.0% a year currently and to a forecast of around 0.7% in 20 years’ time, that still means that the number of people on the planet is expected to grow to around 9.8bn in 2050, placing even greater demands on natural resources than today. 

This highlights just how important achieving net zero and environmental sustainability is to the lives and wellbeing of future generations.

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: Government borrowing rates

Our first chart of 2022 highlights how the cost of government borrowing remains extremely low for most of the 21 largest economies in the world, despite the huge expansion in public debt driven by the pandemic.

Government 10-year bond yields: Germany -0.13%, Switzerland -0.07%, Netherlands 0.00%, Japan 0.09%, France 0.23%, Spain 0.60%, UK 1.08%, Italy 1.23%, Canada 1.59%, USA 1.65%, Australia 1.79%, South Korea 2.38%, China 2.82%, Poland 3.87%, Indonesia 6.38%, India 6.51%, Mexico 8.03%, Russia 8.38%, Brazil 10.73%, Turkey 24.21%.

Our chart of the week illustrates how borrowing costs are still at historically low rates for most of the 21 largest national economies in the world, with negative yields on 10-year government bonds on 5 January 2022 for Germany (-0.13%) and Switzerland (-0.07%), approximately zero for the Netherlands, and yields of sub-2.5% for Japan (0.09%), France (0.23%), Spain (0.60%), the UK (1.08%), Italy (1.23%), Canada (1.59%), the USA (1.65%), Australia (1.79%) and South Korea (2.38%).

This is despite the trillions added to public debt burdens across the world over the past couple of years as a consequence of the pandemic, including the $5trn added to US government debt since March 2020 (up from $17.6trn to $22.6trn owed to external parties) and the more than £500bn borrowed by the UK government (public sector net debt up from £1.8trn to £2.3trn) for example.

Yields in developing economies are higher, although China (2.82%) and Poland (3.87%) can borrow at much lower rates than Indonesia (6.38%), India (6.51%), Mexico (8.03%), Russia (8.37%) and Brazil (10.73%). The outlier is Turkey (24.21%), which is experiencing some difficult economic conditions at the moment. Data was not available for Saudi Arabia, the 19th or 20th largest economy in the world, which has net cash reserves.

With inflation higher than it has been for several years, real borrowing rates are negative for most developed countries, meaning that in theory it would make sense for most countries to continue to borrow as much as they can while funding is so cheap. However, in practice fiscal discipline appears to be reasserting itself, with Germany, for example, planning on returning to a fully balanced budget by the start of next year and the UK targeting a current budget surplus within three years.

For many policymakers, the concern is not so much about how easy it is to borrow today, but the prospect of higher interest rates multiplied by much higher levels of debt eating into spending budgets just as they are looking to invest to grow their economies over the rest of the decade. Despite that, with the pandemic still raging and an emerging cost of living crisis, there may well be a temptation to borrow ‘just one more time’ to support struggling households over what is likely to be a difficult start to 2022.

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: The global vaccination challenge

This week’s chart looks at how much progress there has been in vaccinating an estimated global population of 7.8bn people, and how much is left to be done.

Chart showing vaccination status across Europe, North America, China, India, Rest of Asia, Africa and South America. (See text below for details).

According to Our World in Data as of 15 June 2021, 727m people are fully vaccinated, 884m are partly vaccinated and 3,847 are not yet vaccinated, based on a target of 70% of a world population of 7,795m.

With a vaccination target of 70% needed to prevent the further spread of the virus, we need to vaccinate just under 5.5bn people. So far, only 727m (9% of the global population) have been fully vaccinated, mostly in China (223m), North America (169m) and Europe (158m).

Only relatively small numbers have been fully vaccinated in India (47m), the rest of Asia (73m), South America & Oceania (46m) and Africa (11m). A further 884m (11%) have been partly vaccinated, comprising China (399m), India (156m), Europe (111m), rest of Asia (73m), North America (67m), South America & Oceania (59m) and Africa (19m).

This leaves 3,847m people (49%) yet to be vaccinated, with 1,128m in Asia excluding China and India, 909m in Africa, 763m in India, 386m in China, 255m in Europe, 227m in South America and 179m in North America.

At the current run rate of around 33m vaccinations a day and assuming two doses are needed for each person, it should in theory take around 260 days or just under nine months to deliver the 8.5bn remaining doses needed. With some vaccinations requiring only one dose and expanded manufacturing capacity, the potential is that the world could be vaccinated even sooner than that.

In practice, it will not be so easy. The current level of vaccinations is being driven by China, which is vaccinating around 16m of its population a day at the moment, and whether many countries in the rest of Asia and Africa can get up to proportionately similar levels is not certain. Many countries will struggle to afford the vaccines they need and the 1bn doses just announced by the G7 will only go so far. Logistically, there are some big challenges in getting vaccines into arms in many parts of the world.

That is why some are saying that it will take until the end of 2022 to fully vaccinate the 70% of people needed to protect against the virus. Let’s hope that they are just being cautious, and the momentum can be maintained to get the world vaccinated even sooner than that.

Source: Our World in Data COVID-19 dataset extracted on 15 June 2021 – Mathieu, E., Ritchie, H., Ortiz-Ospina, E. et al. A global database of COVID-19 vaccinations. Nat Hum Behav (2021).

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: G7 economies

Our chart this week illustrates how in representing more than half of the world economy, decisions taken by the G7 can have a significant impact on the entire planet.

The G7 summit hasn’t formally started yet, but Group of Seven (G7) ministers and their guests have already started to meet ahead of the main event next month, albeit subject to quarantine restrictions.

The #icaewchartoftheweek illustrates how important this gathering is by highlighting how the seven major democratic nations and the European Union that together comprise the G7 represent more than half the global economy – and even more than that, once four invited guest nations are included.

Circular 'sunburst' chart showing G7 nations (USA, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada plus remaining EU nations), G7 guest nations (India, South Korea, Australia and a spoke for South Africa) and the rest of the world (China, Russia and Brazil followed by all the rest).

Overall, the G7 economies are forecast by the IMF to generate £35.9tn of economic activity in 2021 at current prices, 54% of forecast global GDP of £66.8tn. This comprises the economies of seven individual member nations: the USA (£16.3tn), Japan (£3.8tn), Germany (£3.1tn), the UK (£2.2tn), France (£2.1tn), Italy (£1.5tn) and Canada (£1.3tn), together with the 24 other EU member states (£5.6tn).

The guests invited to the 47th G7 summit in Cornwall are expected to generate a further £4.9tn or 7% of global GDP in 2021, bringing the total economic activity represented at the summit to £40.8tn or 61% of the total. They are India (£2.2tn), South Korea (£1.3tn), Australia (£1.2tn) and South Africa (£0.2tn).

Not represented at the G7 are China (£12.2tn), Russia (£1.2tn) and Brazil (£1.1tn) and around 160 other nations across the globe (£11.5tn in total).

The G7 summit presents an opportunity for the 11 national leaders and 2 EU representatives involved to shape the direction for much of the world, with discussions expected to range from saving the planet through to transparency in financial and non-financial reporting.

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.

ICAEW chart of the week: global military spending

19 March 2021: The UK’s Integrated Review is the inspiration for this week’s chart, illustrating the 20 countries around the world that spend the most on their militaries.

Chart showing global military spending in 2019 led by USA (£526bn) and China (£200bn) followed by 18 other countries - see text below the chart for details.

The UK Government launched its Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on 16 March 2021, setting out a vision for the UK’s place in the world following its departure from the European Union and in the context of increasing international tensions and emerging security threats.

At the core of the Integrated Review is security and defence, and ICAEW’s chart of the week illustrates one aspect of that by looking at military spending around the world. 

The chart shows spending by the top 20 countries, which together comprise in the order of £1.2tn of estimated total military spending of around £1.4tn to £1.5tn globally in 2019 – an almost textbook example of the 80:20 rule in action.

More than a third of the total spend is incurred by just one country – the USA – which spent in the order of £526bn in 2019 converted at current exchange rates. The next biggest were China and India at £200bn and £50bn respectively, although differences in purchasing power mean that they can afford many more soldiers, sailors and aircrew for the same amount of money. This is followed by Saudi Arabia (£45bn), Russia (£41bn), France (£38bn), the UK (£38bn), Germany (£38bn), Japan (£34bn), South Korea (£33bn), Australia (£21bn), Italy (£20bn), Canada (£17bn), Israel (£16bn), Brazil (£14bn), Spain (£13bn), Turkey (£11bn), the Netherlands (£9bn), Iran (£9bn) and Poland (£9bn).

Exchange rates affect the relative orders of many countries in the list, for example between Russia, France, the UK and Germany which can move up or down according to movements in their currencies, while there are a number of caveats over the estimates used given the different structures of armed forces around the world and a lack of transparency in what is included or excluded in defence budgets in many cases.

In addition, the use of in-year military spending does not necessarily translate directly into military strength. Military capabilities built up over many years or in some cases (such as the UK) over many centuries need to be taken into account, as do differing levels of technological development and spending on intelligence services, counter-terrorism and other aspects of security. Despite these various caveats, estimated military spending still provides a useful proxy in understanding the global security landscape and in particular highlights the UK’s position as a major second-tier military power – in the top 10 countries around the world.

Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy sets out some ambitious objectives for security and defence, which it summarises as follows: “Our diplomatic service, armed forces and security and intelligence agencies will be the most innovative and effective for their size in the world, able to keep our citizens safe at home and support our allies and partners globally. They will be characterised by agility, speed of action and digital integration – with a greater emphasis on engaging, training and assisting others. We will remain a nuclear-armed power with global reach and integrated military capabilities across all five operational domains. We will have a dynamic space programme and will be one of the world’s leading democratic cyber powers. Our diplomacy will be underwritten by the credibility of our deterrent and our ability to project power.”

The estimates of military spending used in the chart were taken from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s Military Expenditure Database, updated to current exchange rates.

This chart was originally published by ICAEW.