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Brazil Overtakes Britain as World's 6th Largest Economy

A leading economic research group says Brazil has overtaken Britain as the world's sixth-largest economy. The London-based Center for Economics and Business Research says Britain lost out to the South American country in 2011 and will likely slide further as faster-growing economies such as Russia and India surge ahead.

After a tough recession and a banking crash, Great Britain has fallen to 7th place, behind larger and faster-growing Brazil.

The South American country expanded at a three percent rate in 2011 and is projected to grow five percent in 2012.

Economist Armando Castelar says the new ranking is unimportant, but he adds it is a confidence builder for Brazil.

"The position is more about statistics than economics," he says.  "The economy is what really matters.  "But," he adds, "it has a psychological effect that helps with attracting investments," Castelar said.

Brazil, one of the so-called BRIC countries, which includes Russia, India and China, is an economic success due largely to exports of manufactured goods, iron ore and agricultural products to the Far East.  But Brazil has big plans.

Brazil's Finance Minister Guido Mantega says Brazil hopes to become the fifth largest economy by 2015, surpassing France.

Brazil's rise has been relatively swift, taking seventh place from Italy in 2010.  The United States, China, Japan and Germany are the four biggest national economies.  But with Europe struggling to contain a raging debt crisis, some economists say Russia and India could overtake Germany and France in the next ten years.

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