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According to the World Bank, the global GDP in current prices totaled $80.7 trillion in 2017. The IMF expected world GDP would expand to $84.8 trillion in 2018, with the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom the largest countries by GDP. Combined, these top 5 countries represent more than half of the gross world product (GWP). Ranking by real GDP, the same countries hold the top spots. 

  • The United States. In 2017, the United States GDP was $19.4 trillion (approximately 25 percent of the GWP), the highest GDP among the world's 192 countries.
  • China. The world's second-largest economy, China, accounted for 14.9 percent of the global GDP. It's GDP growth rate is slowly gradually as the economy continues its transition to more balanced growth. Chan's GDP expanded by 6.7 percent in 2016, 0.2 percentage points less than the previous year. In 2017, China's real GDP growth was expected to increase to 6.77 percent following an upward revision by the IMF.
  • Some measures of GDP show that China's economy is already larger than the US economy. The OECD defines GDP at market prices as, the expenditure on final goods and services minus imports: final consumption expenditures, gross capital formation, and exports minus imports. It can be measured in US dollars and purchasing power parities (PPPs). While measured in US dollars the United States is the world's largest economy, based on PPP China is the largest economy.

GDP remains the single most commonly referenced figure to cover the entirety of a national economy and the trajectory it is on in a single statistic. Measured annually, quarterly, or monthly, trends in GDP for a single country or comparisons among peer countries are often called out in the popular press, sometimes with alarmist tones that can make one wonder why or how this single data point has taken on such importance. This is particularly the case in a world increasingly focused on measuring well-being, governance, and environmental and natural resource depletion, all of which are explicitly or implicitly excluded from standard GDP measures. In an era of open data, however, GDP as a singular golden indicator could fade ever so slowly to make room for other unique measures that will only become increasingly easier to develop and maintain as improvements are made in global data access.

 

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