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Brazil Overtakes U.K. As World's Sixth Biggest Economy

Thousands of people crowd Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as summer gets going in the Southern Hemisphere.
Vanderlei Almeida
AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of people crowd Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as summer gets going in the Southern Hemisphere.

Brazil is now the world's sixth biggest economy overtaking the U.K., according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. As the Financial Times puts it, it's another milestone that's part of a larger trend where emerging economies outpace developed ones. China, they report, overtook Japan earlier this year.

The BBC explains:

"'I think it's part of the big economic change, where not only are we seeing a shift from the west to the east, but we're also seeing that countries that produce vital commodities - food and energy and things like that - are doing very well and they're gradually climbing up the economic league table,' [CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams] said.

"A report based on International Monetary Fund data published earlier this year also said the Brazilian economy would overtake the UK in 2011.

"Brazil has a population of about 200 million, more than three times the population of the UK."

The BBC also notes that while the Brazilian economy was very hot last year — it grew by 7.5 percent — this year, it has "ground to a halt in the third quarter." The government now forecasts it will have grown 3.5 percent in 2011.

Brazil's finance minister was quick to defend the country's economy right after the report was released. "The trend is for Brazil to remain one of the world's top economies," Guido Mantega said in , according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reports that despite the slow down in Brazil's economy, Mantega is probably correct. The U.K.'s economy is expected to grow at a much slower 0.9 percent pace.

But the real reason this matters, says Bloomberg, is that Brazil's economic prowess "has bolstered the country's demands for more say in multilateral lending institutions, such as the IMF, and for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council."

If you're wondering who's next, The Financial Timessays:

"Well, Russia and India are set to move up from 9th and 10th respectively, with Italy at 8th in their sights. The CEBR predicts that by 2020, the four Brics will be the 2nd (China), 4th (Russia), 5th (India) and 6th (Brazil) largest economies, with only the US (1st) and Japan (3rd) ahead."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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