Open menu Close menu Open Search Close search

Korea, North Economy 2008

. Feedback

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 and shortages of spare parts. Industrial and power output have declined in parallel from pre-1990 levels. Due in part to severe summer flooding followed by dry weather conditions in the fall of 2006, the nation suffered its 13th year of food shortages because of on-going systemic problems including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, 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. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Since 2002, the government has 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 government tried to reverse some of these policies by forbidding private sales of grains and reinstituting a centralized food rationing system. By December 2005, the government 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. During the October 2007 summit, South Korea also agreed to develop some of North Korea's infrastructure and natural resources. 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 (2007 est.)

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

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

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,900 (2007 est.)

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

Labor force:
10 million
note: estimates vary widely (2002 est.)

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

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:
141 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:
24,000 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2004)

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

Oil - proved reserves:
NA (1 January 2006)

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

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

natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2005 est.)

natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2005)

natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006)

$1.437 billion f.o.b. (2006)

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)

$3.181 billion c.i.f. (2006)

Imports - partners:
China 27%, South Korea 16%, Thailand 9%, Russia 7% (2005)

Economic aid - recipient:
$81.11 million
note: approximately 350,000 metric tons in food aid through the World Food Program appeal in 2005, 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 - NA (2007), 141 (2006), 170 (December 2004), 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 2008 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea, North Economy 2008 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea, North Economy 2008 should be addressed to the CIA.

- Please bookmark this page (add it to your favorites).
- If you wish to link to this page, you can do so by referring to the URL address below this line.

This page was last modified 24-May-08
Copyright © 1995-2021 ITA all rights reserved.