Brazil has overtaken the UK as the world's sixth largest economy, according to a London-based research group.

The shift is part of a larger trend in which emerging economies are outdoing some European countries, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said on Monday in its latest World Economic League Table.

"I think it's part of the big economic change, where not only are we seeing a shift from the west to the east, but we are also seeing that countries that produce vital commodities - food and energy and things like that - are doing very well and they are gradually climbing up the economic league table," Douglas McWilliams, CEBR chief executive, told BBC radio.

Brazil's population of about 200 million is more than three times that of Britain.

Its economy grew 7.5 per cent in 2010, but the government has cut its growth projections to 3.5 per cent this year after the economy slowed in the third quarter.

Anti-poverty measures

The South American country was still considered something of an economic underachiever a decade ago, but as its economy grew steadily in the past eight years, things started to change.

Government’s anti-poverty measures further helped in lifting more than 40 million people into a new middle class.

Initial numbers indicate sales for holiday shopping this year went up by almost 20 per cent for discretionary items such as perfume and clothing.

The research body also predicted that India, the world's 10th biggest economy in 2011, would move up to fifth place by 2020.

It says the US economy is the biggest, followed by China, Japan and Germany.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies