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    Korea, South Economy 1997

      Economy - overview As one of the Four Dragons of East Asia, South Korea has achieved anincredible record of growth. Three decades ago its GDP per capita was comparablewith levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. Today its GDP percapita is eight times India's, 15 times North Korea's, and already up withthe lesser economies of the European Union. This success has been achievedby a unique system of guidance by an authoritarian government of what is essentiallyan entrepreneurial process. The government has sponsored large-scale adoptionof technology and management from Japan and other modern nations; has successfullypushed the development of export industries while encouraging the import ofmachinery and materials at the expense of consumer goods; and has pushed itslabor force to a work effort seldom matched anywhere even in wartime. RealGDP grew by an average 10% in 1986-91, then paused to a "mere" 5% in 1992-93,moved back up to 8% in 1994 and 9% in 1995, and about 7% in 1996. With a muchhigher standard of living and with a considerable easing of authoritariancontrols, the work pace has softened. Growth rates will probably slow downover the medium term.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $647.2 billion (1996 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 6.9% (1996 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $14,200 (1996 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 8%
      industry: 45%
      services: 47% (1991 est.)

      Inflation rate - consumer price index 5% (1996)

      Labor force
      total: 20 million
      by occupation: services and other 52%, mining and manufacturing 27%, agriculture, fishing,forestry 21% (1991)

      Unemployment rate 1.9% (1996)

      revenues: $69 billion
      expenditures : $67 billion, including capital expenditures of $17 billion (1995 est.)

      Industries electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel,textiles, clothing, footwear, food processing

      Industrial production growth rate 11.9% (1995)

      Electricity - capacity 31.67 million kW (1994)

      Electricity - production 155.89 billion kWh (1994)

      Electricity - consumption per capita 3,563 kWh (1995 est.)

      Agriculture - products rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens,milk, eggs; fish catch of 2.9 million metric tons, seventh largest in world

      total value : $130.9 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
      commodities: electronic and electrical equipment, machinery, steel, automobiles,ships; textiles, clothing, footwear; fish
      partners: US 17%, EU 13%, Japan 12%

      total value: $150.2 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
      commodities : machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transportequipment, textiles, organic chemicals, grains
      partners: US 22%, Japan 21%, EU 13%

      Debt - external $93 billion (1996 est.)

      Economic aid $NA

      Currency 1 South Korean won (W) = 100 chun (theoretical)

      Exchange rates South Korean won (W) per US$1 - 849.88 (January 1997), 804.45 (1996),771.27 (1995), 803.45 (1994), 802.67 (1993), 780.65 (1992)

      Fiscal year calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Korea, South on this page is re-published from the 1997 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea, South Economy 1997 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea, South Economy 1997 should be addressed to the CIA.

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