Korea, North Economy 2015


Korea, North Economy 2015

Page last updated on June 20, 2014

Economy - overview:
North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power output have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel. Large-scale international food aid deliveries have allowed the people of North Korea to escape widespread starvation since famine threatened in 1995, but the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed private "farmers' markets" to begin selling a wider range of goods. It also permitted some private farming - on an experimental basis - in an effort to boost agricultural output. In December 2009, North Korea carried out a redenomination of its currency, capping the amount of North Korean won that could be exchanged for the new notes, and limiting the exchange to a one-week window. A concurrent crackdown on markets and foreign currency use yielded severe shortages and inflation, forcing Pyongyang to ease the restrictions by February 2010. In response to the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea's government cut off most aid, trade, and bilateral cooperation activities, with the exception of operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of KIM Il-sung's birthday in 2012, North Korea continued efforts to develop special economic zones with China and expressed willingness to permit construction of a trilateral gas pipeline that would carry Russian natural gas to South Korea. The North Korean government often highlights its goal of becoming a "strong and prosperous" nation and attracting foreign investment, a key factor for improving the overall standard of living. In this regard, in 2013 the regime rolled out 14 new Special Economic Zones set up for foreign investors, though the initiative remains in its infancy. Nevertheless, firm political control remains the government's overriding concern, which likely will inhibit changes to North Korea's current economic system.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$40 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106

$40 billion (2011 est.)
$40 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars;
North Korea does not publish reliable National Income Accounts data; the data shown here are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP estimates for North Korea that were made by Angus MADDISON in a study conducted for the OECD; his figure for 1999 was extrapolated to 2011 using estimated real growth rates for North Korea's GDP and an inflation factor based on the US GDP deflator; the results were rounded to the nearest $10 billion.
[see also: GDP country ranks ]

GDP (official exchange rate):
$28 billion (2009 est.)
[see also: GDP (official exchange rate) country ranks ]

GDP - real growth rate:
1.3% (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167

0.8% (2011 est.)
-0.5% (2010 est.)
[see also: GDP - real growth rate country ranks ]

GDP - per capita:
$1,800 (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198

$1,800 (2010 est.)
$1,900 (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
[see also: GDP - per capita country ranks ]

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 23.4%
industry: 47.2%
services: 29.4% (2012 est.)

Agriculture - products:
rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, eggs

military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, limestone, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate:
0.5% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
[see also: Industrial production growth rate country ranks ]

Labor force:
12.6 million
country comparison to the world: 42
note: estimates vary widely (2012 est.)
[see also: Labor force country ranks ]

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 35%
industry and services: 65% (2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
[see also: Unemployment rate country ranks ]

Population below poverty line:
[see also: Population below poverty line country ranks ]

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

revenues: $3.2 billion
expenditures: $3.3 billion (2007 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
11.4% of GDP
country comparison to the world: 206
note: excludes earnings from state-operated enterprises (2007 est.)
[see also: Taxes and other revenues country ranks ]

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-0.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
[see also: Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) country ranks ]

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
[see also: Inflation rate (consumer prices) country ranks ]

$3.954 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121

$3.703 billion (2011 est.)
[see also: Exports country ranks ]

Exports - commodities:
minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments), textiles, agricultural and fishery products

Exports - partners:
China 63%, South Korea 27% (2012 est.)

$4.828 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131

$4.367 billion
[see also: Imports country ranks ]

Imports - commodities:
petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment, textiles, grain

Imports - partners:
China 73%, South Korea 19% (2012 est.)

Debt - external:
$3 billion (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
[see also: Debt - external country ranks ]

Exchange rates:
North Korean won (KPW) per US dollar (market rate)

157 (2013 est.)
155.5 (2012 est.)
145 (2010 est.)
3,630 (December 2008)
140 (2007)

NOTE: 1) The information regarding Korea, North on this page is re-published from the 2015 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea, North Economy 2015 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea, North Economy 2015 should be addressed to the CIA.
2) The rank that you see is the CIA reported rank, which may habe the following issues:
  a) They assign increasing rank number, alphabetically for countries with the same value of the ranked item, whereas we assign them the same rank.
  b) The CIA sometimes assignes counterintuitive ranks. For example, it assigns unemployment rates in increasing order, whereas we rank them in decreasing order

This page was last modified 10-Feb-15
Copyright © 1995- , ITA (all rights reserved).

    . Feedback