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Global Economies

The global economic landscape has shifted significantly in recent decades, with developing countries experiencing higher GDP growth rates than developed countries. Currently, 75% of global manufacturing and services production and 90% of world agricultural production are concentrated in just 15 countries, with the USA and UK accounting for 30% of the world total. However, China is the world's leading manufacturing producer, while the USA is the leading producer of commercial services, the biggest foreign direct investor, and the third-largest exporter of manufactured goods. The US share of world merchandise exports has fallen, and imports have grown, leading to a trade deficit. Inward and outward foreign direct investment is more balanced. Europe is the world's biggest trading area and the primary focus of global foreign direct investment, with Germany being the biggest European economy.

However, the trade performance of individual European countries differs considerably. Eastern Europe and Russia are considered "transitional economies," having shifted from centrally planned economies with a heavy emphasis on basic manufacturing industries to capitalist market economies. The BRIC countries - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - may dominate the supply of manufactured goods, services, and raw materials by 2050. Asia, particularly China, has witnessed a re-emergence in recent years, with GDP increasing since 1700, decreasing since 1950, and increasing again today. Japan experienced a rapid rise after WWII, and Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have also grown quickly. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are emerging players, and India has the potential to be dynamic.

The emphasis on growth has led to exports dominating manufacturing in China and imports dominating fuels/mining. These changes have had a significant impact on the prices of commodities, especially steel, aluminum, copper, zinc, and nickel, as well as on the prices of labor-intensive products. The changing geography of the global economy has also affected capital flows. The availability of a huge, cheap workforce and an unusually open economy to trade makes China particularly significant. India, too, has immense potential to shape the future of the global economy. As the world continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these changing patterns and dynamics impact global trade and economic growth.

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