United Kingdom (for reference)
Size: Twice the size of New York State in the USA
Population, 2005: 59 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 2.5%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 14,400 ($27,700)
Economy: The UK, a leading trading power and financial centre, is one of the quartet of trillion-dollar economies of Western Europe. GDP growth slipped in 2001-03 as the global downturn, the high value of the pound, and the bursting of the "new economy" bubble hurt manufacturing and exports. Still, the economy is one of the strongest in Europe; inflation, interest rates, and unemployment remain low.
Size: About the same size as France
Population, 2005: 63 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 6.4%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 3,850 ($7,400)
Economy: Thailand has recovered from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and was one of eastern Asia's best performers in 2002. Increased consumption and investment spending and strong export growth pushed GDP growth up to 6.3% in 2003, despite a sluggish global economy.
Size: Smaller than the US state of South Carolina
Population, 2005: 10 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 3.4%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 8,160 ($15,700)
Economy: One of the most stable and prosperous of post-Communist states, the Czech Republic has been recovering from recession since mid-1999. Growth in 2000-03 was supported by exports to the EU and a near-doubling of foreign direct investment. Domestic demand is playing an ever more important role.
Size: Same as the US state of New Mexico
Population, 2005: 38 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 5.1%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 5,770 ($11,100)
Economy: According to experts from the World Bank, Poland may need as much as 30 years for its economy to catch up with those of the rest of the European Union. However, the general economy continues to grow at a rate of nearly 6%, surpassing most economic predictions.
Size: The largest country in the world, 1.8 times the size of the USA
Population, 2005: 143 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 6.6%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing: 4,630 ($8,900)
Economy: Russia ended 2003 with its fifth straight year of growth, averaging 6.5% annually since 1998. Though high oil prices and a cheap ruble are important drivers of this economic rebound, since 2000 investment and consumer demand have played an increasing role. Real personal incomes have averaged increases over 12% since 2000.
Size: China is the third-largest country in the world behind Russia and Canada
Population, 2005: 1,313 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 7.5%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 2,600 ($5,000)
Economy: China's GDP has risen, on average, more than 8% a year since 1978, making it a major global player. In 2002, it entered the World Trade Organisation and signed a free trade agreement with the 10 members of the South East Asian Countries Association.
United Arab Emirates
Size: Similar to size of US state of Maine
Population, 2005: 4 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 4.5%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 12,060 ($23,200)
Economy: The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 33% of GDP), and the economy fluctuates with their prices. Since 1973, the UAE has transformed itself into a modern state with a high standard of living.
Size: Slightly more than one-third the size of the USA
Population, 2005: 1,081 million
Real projected growth for 2005: 6.7%
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: 1,500 ($2,900)
Economy: Government controls have been reduced on foreign trade and investment, and privatisation of domestic output has proceeded slowly. The economy has posted an excellent average growth rate of 6% since 1990, reducing poverty by about 10 percentage points.
Real projected growth % for 2005: source, International Monetary Fund
Per capita GDP, adjusted for purchasing power: source, CIA
Population, 2005, millions: source, UN