World Grain - May 2020 - 21

COUNTRY FOCUS

FOCUS ON THE

UNITED KINGDOM
Grains sector in transition
as Britain exits the EU
by Chris Lyddon

The UK grains sector faces enormous change after almost
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20

KEY FACTS
Capital: London
Population: 65,761,117 United Kingdom
(July 2020 est.)
Religions: Christian (includes Anglican, Roman
Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist) 59.5%, Muslim
4.4%, Hindu 1.3%, other 2%, unspecified 7.2%,
none 25.7% (2011 est.).
Location: Western Europe, islands - including the
northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland - between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea;
northwest of France.
Government: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm. Chief of state: Queen
Elizabeth II (since Feb. 6, 1952); Prime Minister Boris
Johnson (Conservative) (since July 24, 2019).
Economy: The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe
after Germany and France. Agriculture is intensive,
highly mechanized, and efficient by European standards, producing about 60% of food needs with less
than 2% of the labor force. The UK has large coal,
natural gas and oil resources, but its oil and natural
gas reserves are declining. Services, particularly banking, insurance and business services, are key drivers of
British GDP growth. Manufacturing, meanwhile, has
declined in importance but still accounts for about
10% of economic output. In 2008, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to
the importance of its financial sector. Falling home
prices, high consumer debt, and the global economic
slowdown compounded the UK's economic problems,
pushing the economy into recession in the latter half
of 2008 and prompting the then-Brown (Labour) government to implement a number of measures to stimulate the economy and stabilize the financial markets.
Facing burgeoning public deficits and debt levels, in
2010 the then Cameron-led coalition government
initiated an austerity program, which has continued
under the Conservative government. However, the
deficit still is one of the highest in the G7, standing
at 3.6% of GDP as of 2017, and the UK has pledged
to lower its corporation tax from 20% to 17% by
2020. The UK had a debt burden of 90.4% GDP at
the end of 2017. The UK economy has begun to slow
since the referendum vote to leave the EU in June
2016. A sustained depreciation of the British pound
has increased consumer and producer prices, weighing on consumer spending without spurring a meaningful increase in exports. The UK has an extensive
trade relationship with other EU members through its
single market membership, and economic observers
have warned the exit will jeopardize its position as
the central location for European financial services.
GDP per capita:  $44,300 (2017 est.); inflation:
2.7% (2017 est.); unemployment: 4.4% (2017 est.).
Currency: British pounds(GBP): .8124 pounds equal
1 US dollar (April 21, 2020).
Exports: $441.2 billion (2017 est.): manufactured
goods, fuels, chemicals; food, beverages, tobacco.
Imports: $615.9 billion (2017 est.): manufactured
goods, machinery, fuels; foodstuffs.
Agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.) of GDP and 1.3% of
the labor force.
Internet: Code: .uk; 61,064,454 users.
Source: CIA World Factbook

May 2020 / World Grain / www.World-Grain.com


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World Grain - May 2020

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http://digital.world-grain.com/sosland/wg/2009_03_01
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