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Encyclopedia > Economy of Wales

The Economy of Wales ranks as the smallest of the four economies of the United Kingdom in terms of GDP(2002). It is also ranks as the 43rd largest economy in the world. The modern Welsh economy is dominated by the service sector. In 2000, services contributed 66% to GVA. The manufacturing sector contributed 32%, whilst Agriculture, forestry and fishing contributed 1.5%. Measures of national income and output are used in economics to estimate the value of goods and services produced in an economy. ...


Economic sectors


In recent years, the service sector in Wales has seen above average growth compared with the rest of the UK, observable in business services, health, education and hotels and restaurants. Rising income levels and busier lifestyles in some of the population have seen a growth in more upmarket restaurants and fast food chains. Swansea, Newport and, in particular, Cardiff are centres for financial and business services, with Cardiff enjoying significant growth in recent years.

With its mountainous landscape and numerous sandy beaches, Wales has always attracted much tourism. In 2002, nearly 13 million trips of one night or more were made in Wales, generating expenditure of £1.8 billion. 11.9 million of these trips were made by UK residents with 0.9 million coming from overseas.


Wales has a diverse manufacturing sector. Heavy industry, once a mainstay of the Welsh economy has largely been in decline over the past century but is still very apparent. Milford haven has two oil refineries which represent around a fith of United Kingdom capacity. Metal ore refining is a long established industry in Wales. Nearly all the tinplate and much of the aluminium of sheet steel products in the UK are produced in Welsh plants. Much of the ore is now imported and some of the metal produced is re-exported.

Wales is an important producer of automotive components: Ford has a major engine plant at Bridgend; Borg Warner has a major components plant in Kenfig, South Wales; and Visteon has a large transmission components plant near Swansea.

During the 1980s and 1990s, a major growth sector in manufacturing is the electronics industry with over 130 North American and 35 Japanese companies havinh operations in Wales. Welsh manufacturing is noted for its high productivity. However, research and development activity in this sector is relatively scarce. Most of the research and development activity focuses on cost reduction rather than new product development and design. // Events and trends The 1980s marked an abrupt shift towards more conservative lifestyles after the momentous cultural revolutions which took place in the 1960s and 1970s and the definition of the AIDS virus in 1981. ... // Events and trends The 1990s are generally classified as having moved slightly away from the more conservative 1980s, but otherwise retaining a similar mindset. ...

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Approximately 80% of the land in wales in used for agriculture. With its grassy and hilly terrain, livestock farming is more common than crop cultivation. Wales is famous for its sheep, of which there is a population of more than 10 million, outnumbering the human population of more than three to one. Cattle farming for beef and dairy products is also common. About 13% of the land is covered by forestry and woodland. Wales's fishing industry is concentrated mainly along the Bristol Channel.

Transport infrastructure

In 2003, Wales has 133 kilometres of motorways. The M4 motorway serves south Wales, beginning near Pontardulais, it serves major towns and cities like Swansea, Bridgend, Cardiff and Newport. The M4 connects Wales with England at the Second Severn Crossing. North Wales is served by the A55 trunk road. The there are only 2 railway lines served by intercity express trains which follow the north coast and south coast respectively. The M4 motorway is a motorway in the UK, which links London and west Wales via Bristol. ... The A55 at Warren Mountain The A55, also known as the North Wales Expressway, is a major road in Britain. ...

Due to the mountainous terrain of mid wales, north-south transport is difficult. There are only a few trunk roads and railway lines and many travellers find it easier to travel via England to move north-south. The main north-south railway line in central Wales is the Heart of Wales Line. The A483 is the main north-south road route in central Wales. The Heart of Wales Line is the railway line from Llanelli to Craven Arms. ... The A483 is a major road in the United Kingdom, running from Swansea in Wales to Chester in England. ...

Milford Haven has the largest port in Wales, it is also the fith largest in the United Kingdom and contains a significant oil and natural gas termninal. Swansea has a port for exporting industrial cargo where steel products from Port Talbot Steelworks and chemicals from BP Baglan Bay are exported. Milford Haven (Welsh: Aberdaugleddau meaning Mouth of the Two Cleddaus) is a town in Pembrokeshire, Wales. ... View of Oxford Street in Swansea city centre Marina, formerly South Dock in the Maritime Quarter Aerial view of Swansea Bay Swansea (Welsh: Abertawe, mouth of the Tawe) is a city and county in South Wales, situated on the coast immediately to the east of the Gower Peninsula. ...

As of 2005, Cardiff-Wales airport is the only airport offering scheduled flights in Wales. It handled around 1.4 million passengers in 2002.

Economic history

During the 19th century, coal mining and heavy industry dominated the South Wales economy. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

The United Kingdom, a leading trading power and financial centre, has the fourth largest economy in the world in USD exchange-rate terms and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). ...

External links

  • Eurostat: WALES - Economy
  • British Industry - Safe Haven

  Results from FactBites:
Wales/Temp (853 words)
Wales has been a principality -- since the 13th century, initially under the Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great, and later under his grandson, Llywelyn the Last, who took the title Prince of Wales around 1258, and was recognised by the English Crown in 1277 by the Treaty of Aberconwy.
Glyn Dwr was proclaimed Prince of Wales, and sought assistance from the French, but by 1409 his forces were scattered under the attacks of King Henry IV of England and further measures imposed against the Welsh.
The Prince of Wales is a title given by the reigning British monarch to his or her eldest son, but in modern times the Prince does not live in Wales or have anything to do with its administration or government, although he visits frequently.
Wales: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (6243 words)
Wales is bounded by the Irish Sea (N), by the Bristol Channel (S), by the English counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire (E), and by Cardigan Bay and St. George's Channel (W).
Wales comprises 22 administrative divisions (unitary authorities): Flintshire, Wrexham, Denbighshire, Conwy, the Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Powys, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, the Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Newport, and Monmouthshire.
Wales was legally annexed by the Laws in Wales Act 1535, in the reign of Henry VIII of England, who was himself partly of Welsh ancestry.
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