Source of data

In 2019,
GDP of the UK was 2,743.586 Billion USD, while that of France was 2,707.074 B.
That is just a difference of 1.33 percent. Some might even dismiss it as noise.

In 2022 however,
GDP of the UK was 3,376.003 B, while that of France was 2,936.702 B.
That is a difference of over 13 percent. Not negligible - it is quite significant infact.

How did this happen? During this period, afaik: politically, France has had the same president with popular support while the UK was grapped with scandals such as partygate. Economically, France was stable as part of the EU while the UK had to deal with brexit.
Shouldn't that mean the opposite would have happened? That France should have raced ahead of the UK, instead?

What exactly is happening here?

  • 7
    The data you refer to is for the year not ended yet. GDP numbers are routinely adjusted up or down significantly as late as five years after. The reporting mechanisms and the data amalgamation mechanisms are simply not fast enough to produce up-to-the-minute type data. You might possibly (note the deliberate uncertainty injected here) get other indicators to compare, such as maybe employment as just one example.
    – BillOnne
    Dec 25, 2022 at 15:00
  • 1
    The given numbers for 2022 might not be very trustworthy. The year hasn't ended yet. It might just be guesses. Dec 25, 2022 at 17:59
  • "France has had the same president with popular support " - not so sure about that! Also although there have been a number of political scandals in the UK the setup there generally allows day to day business to keep running. In addition the UK was very determined to get out of harsh Covid restrictions and did so much earlier than France (which still has a number of onerous restrictions in place).
    – deep64blue
    Dec 26, 2022 at 3:39
  • 3
    An economic growth of over 20% in three years would be sensational at this day and age, so the effect must be some statistical artifact. Dec 26, 2022 at 12:07
  • 1
    @Stef I think that is historical. Today it is quite clear 1 billion is 10^9.
    – whoisit
    Dec 26, 2022 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


This is probably mostly an effect of exchange rates. First note that all figures are in US dollars whereas the UK uses pounds and France uses Euros. The IMF uses conversion rates in the years they are comparing but I'm not sure whether it is some kind of average or year end values.

Using this site gives a rate of around 0.89 Euros per $ in 2019 and 0.95 Euros per $ in 2022 so a nontrivial fall. The pound went from 0.78 to 0.80 so stayed closer to constant relative to the $. Even these rough guesses already explain a good chunk of the difference you observed. Note also that wikipedia warns of exactly this effect in the paragraph above the table.

  • 1
    There was an edit suggest to also add in inflation as an explaining factor. If one measures nominal GDP in the native currency this could be added but as the currency here is translated to US $ this is already accounted in the change of the exchange rate.
    – quarague
    Dec 26, 2022 at 6:35
  • 1
    That does raise the questions of how there was such a change of exchange rates, and whether it is legitimate to dismiss the portion of the change in GDP that was due to exchange rates as not significant. Dec 27, 2022 at 2:54
  • @Acccumulation I didn't claim that is was insignificant but take a look at the currency exchange rate between some major currencies over a couple of years. They change by huge amounts. If you look at the table in the question, most Euro countries have a drop of around 15% from 2014 to 2015. That is probably related to the Russian invasion of the Krim but there was no recession in the EU at that time.
    – quarague
    Dec 27, 2022 at 7:27

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