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17 countries with the strongest economy

Last updated on: August 8, 2011 11:53 IST
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17 countries with the strongest economy

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With Standard and Poor's, one of the world's three largest credit rating agencies, downgrading the United States' credit worthiness from AAA to AA+, the exclusive club of countries with the highest rating --, AAA -- has shrunk a wee bit.

Out of 200-odd countries, just 16 nations have the coveted triple A rating from both Standard & Poor's and Moody's, another credit rating agency.

When a country, say India, plans to buy bonds of another nation, say the United States, it looks at not only how much returns it will get on its investment, but also whether it will get any returns or not.

To help in this process, there are credit agencies, such as Standard & Poor's and Moody's, that rate countries around the world on their credit worthiness, with AAA meaning not only high returns but also guaranteed probability of returns.

When a country gets triple A rating, it not only attracts buyers but is also able to get loans, et cetera, on lower interest rates, which reveals why this rating is so coveted.

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Image: Credit agencies rate countries on their credit worthiness.

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India

Standard & Poor's rates India BBB-, which means its capacity to meet its financial commitments is strong, but is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than those in higher-rated categories.

Let us have a look at 16 countries that enjoy AAA rating, and the United States, which has just been downgraded causing a major upheaval in global stock markets and putting the future of the world's financial markets in question.

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Image: India is rated BBB-.

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Australia

The economy of Australia is a developed, modern market economy with a GDP of about $1.2 trillion.

In 2009, it was the 13th largest national economy by nominal GDP and the 17th largest measured by PPP adjusted GDP, representing about 1.7 per cent of the World economy.

Australia was also ranked the 19th largest importer and 19th largest exporter.

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Image: A view of Melbourne.

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Austria

Austria is one of the 12 richest countries in the world in terms of GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living.

Until the 1980s, many of Austria's largest industry firms were nationalised; in recent years, however, privatisation has reduced state holdings to a level comparable to other European economies. Next to a highly-developed industry, international tourism is the most important part of the national economy.

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Image: Vienna City Hall.

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Canada

Canada has the ninth largest economy in the world (measured in US dollars at market exchange rates), is one of the world's wealthiest nations, and is a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Group of Eight.

As with other developed nations, the Canadian economy is dominated by the service industry, which employs about three quarters of Canadians.

Canada is unusual among developed countries in the importance of the primary sector, with the logging and oil industries being two of Canada's most important.

Canada also has a sizable manufacturing sector.

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Image: A view of Calgary.

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Denmark

With very few natural resources, the economy of Denmark relies almost entirely on human resources.

The service sector makes up the vast amount of the employment and economy. Its industrialised market economy depends on imported raw materials and foreign trade.

Within the European Union, Denmark advocates a liberal trade policy.

Its standard of living is average among the Western European countries - and for many years the most equally distributed.

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Image: Beautiful Copenhagen.

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Finland

Finland has a highly industrialised, mixed economy with a per capita output equal to that of other western economies such as France, Germany, Sweden or the United Kingdom.

The largest sector of the economy is services at 65.7 per cent, followed by manufacturing and refining at 31.4 per cent.

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Image: Helsinki basks under sunshine.

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France

France is the world's fifth-largest and wealthiest economy. It is the second-largest economy in Europe (behind its main economic partner Germany).

France's economy entered the 2008-2009 recession later and left it earlier than most comparable economies, only enduring four quarters of contraction.

As of September 2010, France's economy has been growing continuously since the second quarter of 2009.

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Image: A public square in Lyons.

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Germany

Germany is the largest national economy in Europe, the fourth-largest by nominal GDP in the world, and fifth by GDP (PPP) in 2008.

Since the age of industrialisation, the country has been a driver, innovator, and beneficiary of an ever more globalised economy.

Germany is the world's second-largest exporter with $1.120 trillion exported in 2009.

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Image: Night view of Berlin.

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Isle of Man

Offshore banking, manufacturing, and tourism form key sectors of the economy of the Isle of Man, a British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea.

The government's policy of offering incentives to high-technology companies and financial institutions to locate on the Island has expanded employment opportunities in high-income industries.

As a result, agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy, now make declining contributions to the Island's Gross Domestic Product.

Banking and other services now contribute the great bulk of GDP.

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Image: A view of Isle of Man.

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Luxembourg

The economy of Luxembourg is largely dependent on the banking, steel, and industrial sectors.

Luxembourgers enjoy the second highest per capita gross domestic product in the world, behind Qatar.

Luxembourg is seen as a diversified industrialized nation.

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Image: Luxembourg is a diversified industrialized nation.

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The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade.

The economy is noted for stable industrial relations, fairly low unemployment and inflation, a sizable current account surplus, and an important role as a European transportation hub.

Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, and electrical machinery.

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Image: A view of Amsterdam.

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New Zealand

New Zealand has a market economy which is greatly dependent on international trade, mainly with Australia, the European Union, the United States, China, Japan and India.

It has only small manufacturing and high-tech sectors, being strongly focused on tourism and primary industries like agriculture.

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Image: Auckland at dawn.

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Norway

The economy of Norway is a developed mixed economy with heavy state-ownership in strategic areas of the economy.

Although sensitive to global business cycles, the economy of Norway has shown robust growth since the start of the industrial era.

Shipping has long been a support of Norway's export sector, but much of Norway's economic growth has been fuelled by an abundance of natural resources, including petroleum exploration and production, hydroelectric power, and fisheries.

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Image: Oslo at night.

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Singapore

Singapore has a highly developed state capitalist mixed economy; the state owns stakes in firms that comprise perhaps 60 per cent of the GDP through entities such as the sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

It has an open business environment, relatively corruption-free and transparent, stable prices, and one of the highest per-capita gross domestic products in the world.

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Image: Bustling city-state Singapore.

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Sweden

The economy of Sweden is a developed diverse economy, aided by timber, hydropower and iron ore. These constitute the resource base of an economy oriented toward foreign trade.

The main industries include motor vehicles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, industrial machines, precision equipments, chemical goods, home goods and appliances, forestry, iron and steel.

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Image: View of Stockholm.

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Switzerland

The economy of Switzerland is one of the world's most stable economies. Its policy of long-term monetary security and political stability has made Switzerland a safe haven for investors, creating an economy that is increasingly dependent on a steady tide of foreign investment.

Because of the country's small size and high labour specialisation, industry and trade are the keys to Switzerland's economic livelihood.

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Image: Geneva attracts best companies of the world.

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The United Kingdom

The economy of the United Kingdom is the sixth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal GDP and seventh-largest measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), and the third-largest in Europe measured by nominal GDP (after Germany and France) and second-largest measured by PPP (after Germany).

The UK's GDP per capita is the 20th highest in the world in nominal terms and the 17th highest measured by PPP.

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Image: London is a financial capital.

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The United States

The economy of the United States is the world's largest national economy.

Its nominal GDP was estimated to be nearly $14.7 trillion in 2010, about a quarter of nominal global GDP.

Its GDP at purchasing power parity was also the largest in the world, about a fifth of global GDP at purchasing power parity.

The US economy also maintains a very high level of output per capita. 

On August 5, 2011, Standards & Poor's, one of the premier rating agencies in the world, downgraded United States debt (basically financial securities issued by the US government to finance its fiscal deficit) to AA+ from AAA rating, a rating it first awarded the US way back in 1941.

And this has led to a worldwide bloodbath in the financial and stock makets.


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