The G7 in 2050

The G7 group of nations includes the United States, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada. It was originally set up to promote coordination of the global economy. With four of seven members, European nations have always been overrepresented in the G7. We wonder: Which European member of the G7 is the only one that will remain among the top ten economies in the world in 2050?

A. Italy
B. France
C. United Kingdom
D. Germany

A. Italy is not correct.

Italy has the smallest economy of the four European G7 member nations in terms of GDP. Adjusted for purchasing power parity, the Italian economy amounts to $2.1 trillion. That is equal to 12% of U.S. GDP.

Italy is already outside the world’s ten largest economies. It currently holds the 12th spot – ranking between Mexico and South Korea. The only G7 member with an even smaller economy is Canada, in 15th place.

By 2030, Italy itself will have dropped to 15th place, based on PwC projections released in 2015. At that point, it will be nearly tied with Nigeria’s economy, which is the largest African economy today. By 2030, Italy is also expected to trail Turkey in terms of GDP.

By 2050, Italy is projected to slip to 18th place, with an economy slightly larger than Canada. Canada will narrowly avoid being pushed out of the 20 largest economies altogether by mid-century, unless the Philippines makes unexpectedly large gains by then.

B. France is not correct.

France currently has the eighth-largest economy in the world (with a GDP of $2.6 trillion). Among G7 members, France will join Italy and Canada outside of the top ten by 2030, when its economy is expected to be in 11th place.

By 2050, France is expected to be the 13th-largest world economy, ranking between Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

At present, France is the fourth-largest G7 economy. The largest – second only to China in the overall global rankings – remains the United States, which will continue to be much larger than its fellow club members.

India is expected to overtake the United States by 2050 in PPP-adjusted terms. India has already overtaken Japan, the next largest G7 member, to become the third-largest world economy.

However, like China, India is not part of the G7 as presently constituted.

The three largest economies in 2050 – China, India and the United States – will be each vastly larger than any other competitors.

At present, France’s economy ranks between two other major non-European nations – Brazil and Indonesia, respectively.

Indonesia is expected to overtake Brazil and become one of the world’s top five largest economies by 2030. Brazil will enter the top five by 2050, pushing out Japan. In fact, Japan’s economy will also be narrowly overtaken by Mexico’s in size by 2050.

The only European economies larger today than France in purchasing power terms are Germany and Russia.

C. United Kingdom is not correct.

Prior to the Brexit referendum, PwC had estimated that the United Kingdom would hold steady until at least 2030 as the tenth-largest economy in the world.

Pre-Brexit, the UK economy (in PPP terms) amounted to $2.5 trillion. The long-term growth effects of a likely surprise departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union will not be known for some time.

Even so, the United Kingdom was expected to exit the top tier of the world’s ten largest economies sometime between 2030 and 2050.

All of this assumes that the economic path of the United Kingdom continues unperturbed by a Brexit and that the country will not split up in the process.

D. Germany is correct.

By 2050, Germany (today an economy of $3.6 trillion) is expected to be the sole European member of the G7 countries that is still one of the ten world’s largest economies at that point in time.

Germany is expected to rank in tenth place, ahead of the United Kingdom, which is expected to still hold off Saudi Arabia for the 11th spot by 2050.

The G7 countries added Russia as a member in 1997 to become the G8 for more than a decade. However, Russia’s membership was suspended in 2014 in response to its military activities conducted in Ukraine and the unilateral annexation of Crimea. This returned the group to its G7 status.

Russia currently has the sixth-largest economy in the world (in PPP-adjusted terms). Were it to return to the group before 2050, it would be the only other European member, along with Germany.

PwC estimates that Russia would be the world’s seventh-largest economy in 2030, just ahead of Germany, and the eighth-largest in 2050, just ahead of Nigeria. Nigeria is the only African economy expected to reach the top ten by 2050.

Editor’s note: Data for this quiz come from PwC’s February 2015 report “The World in 2050.”

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