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Korea, North Economy 2007

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Economy - overview:
North Korea, one of the world's most centrally planned and isolated economies, faces desperate economic conditions. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment and shortages of spare parts. Industrial and power output have declined in parallel. Due in part to severe summer flooding followed by dry weather conditions in the fall of 2006, the nation has suffered its 12th year of food shortages because of on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, and chronic shortages of tractors and fuel. Massive international food aid deliveries have allowed the people of North Korea to escape mass starvation since famine threatened in 1995, but the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Large-scale military spending eats up resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. In 2004, the regime formalized an arrangement whereby private "farmers' markets" were allowed 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 October 2005, the regime reversed some of these policies by forbidding private sales of grains and reinstituting a centralized food rationing system. By December 2005, the regime terminated most international humanitarian assistance operations in North Korea (calling instead for developmental assistance only) and restricted the activities of remaining international and non-governmental aid organizations such as the World Food Program. External food aid now comes primarily from China and South Korea in the form of grants and long-term concessional loans. Firm political control remains the Communist government's overriding concern, which will likely inhibit the loosening of economic regulations.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$40 billion
note: North Korea does not publish any reliable National Income Accounts data; the datum shown here is 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 2006 using estimated real growth rates for North Korea's GDP and an inflation factor based on the US GDP deflator; the result was rounded to the nearest $10 billion (2006 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA (2006 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
1.6% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,800 (2006 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 30%
industry: 34%
services: 36% (2002 est.)

Labor force:
9.6 million (2002 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 36%
industry and services: 64% (2002)

Unemployment rate:

Population below poverty line:

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

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA

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:

Electricity - production:
22.19 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - consumption:
18.57 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2005)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2005)

Oil - production:
138.5 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - consumption:
25,000 bbl/day (2004)

Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day

Oil - imports:
23,520 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2005 est.)

$1.34 billion f.o.b. (2005)

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

Exports - partners:
China 35%, South Korea 24%, Thailand 9%, Japan 9% (2005)

$2.72 billion c.i.f. (2005)

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

Imports - partners:
China 42%, South Korea 28%, Russia 9%, Thailand 8% (2005)

Economic aid - recipient:
$NA; note - approximately 350,000 metric tons in food aid, worth approximately $118 million, through the World Food Program appeal in 2004, plus additional aid from bilateral donors and non-governmental organizations (2005)

Debt - external:
$12 billion (1996 est.)

Currency (code):
North Korean won (KPW)

Exchange rates:
official: North Korean won per US dollar - 141 (2006), 170 (December 2004), 150 (December 2002), market: North Korean won per US dollar - 2,500-3,000 (December 2006)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

NOTE: The information regarding Korea, North on this page is re-published from the 2007 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea, North Economy 2007 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea, North Economy 2007 should be addressed to the CIA.

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