Here’s the list of the top ten economies based on the criteria of GDP, current prices (US dollars) which is simply known as nominal GDP. The rankings differ if the same list is prepared using the GDP based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP). As a general rule, developed countries have a smaller gap between their nominal GDP (i.e., current prices) and GDP based on PPP, while the difference is greater in developing countries, which tend to have a higher GDP when valued on purchasing-power-parity basis. (For more, see: The GDP And Its Importance.)

  1. United States

The US economy is the largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP (measured at current prices in US dollars). The $17.41 trillion US economy is approximately 22.44 percent of the gross world product. The United States is an economic superpower that is highly advanced in terms of technology and infrastructure and has abundant natural resources. However, the US economy loses its spot as the Number One economy by a slight margin to China when measured in terms of GDP based on PPP. In these terms, China’s GDP is $17.63 trillion and the US GDP is $17.41 trillion. However, the US is way ahead of China in terms of GDP per capita (PPP)– approximately $54,678 in the US versus $12,893 in China.

  1. China

China has transformed itself from a centrally planned closed economy in the 1970’s to a manufacturing and exporting hub over the years. The Chinese economy is propelled by an equal contribution from manufacturing and services (45 percent each, approximately) with a 10 percent contribution by the agricultural sector. The Chinese economy overtook the US economy in terms of GDP based on PPP. However, the difference between the economies in terms of nominal GDP remains large. China is currently a $10.35 trillion economy and has been growing at around seven percent in the recent years. (Related reading, see: Why China Is “The World’s Factory.”)

  1. Japan

Japan’s economy ranks third in terms of nominal GDP while it slips to fourth spot when comparing the GDP by purchasing-power-parity. The economy has been facing hard times since the 2008, when it was first showed recessionary symptoms. Though the government’s stimulus packages have helped the economy recover a bit, the massive earthquake in 2011 gave the fragile economy another jolt. Economic growth has hovered between 0.5–2 percent in recent times. The nominal GDP of Japan is $4.77 trillion, its GDP (PPP) is $4.78 trillion, and its GDP (PPP) per capita is $37,683.

  1. Germany

Germany is Europe’s largest and strongest economy. On the world scale, it ranks as the fourth largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. Germany’s economy is known for its exports of machinery, vehicles, household equipment, and chemicals. Germany has a skilled labor force, but the economy faces demographic challenges like most European nations. The size of its nominal GDP is $3.82 trillion, while its GDP in terms of purchasing-power-parity is $3.62 trillion. Germany’s GDP (PPP) per capita is $44,741, and the economy has moved at a moderate pace of 1-2 percent in recent years.

  1. France

France, the most visited country in the world is the fifth largest economy in the world with a nominal GDP of $2.9 trillion. Its GDP in terms of PPP is around $2.59 trillion. France has a low poverty rate and high standard of living, which is reflected in its GDP (PPP) per capita of $40,445. The country is among the top exporters and importers in the world. France has experienced a slowdown over the past few years and the government is under immense pressure to rekindle the economy, as well as to combat the rising unemployment.

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