North Korea’s economy shrank in 2018 for a second straight year, and by the most in 21 years, as it was battered by international sanctions aimed at stopping its nuclear programme and by drought, South Korea’s central bank said on Friday.
– North Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.1% last year in real terms, the worst since 1997 and the second consecutive year of decline.
– Their international trade fell 48.4% in value in 2018 as toughened international sanctions cut exports by nearly 90%, the worst loss in exports since the central bank started publishing data nearly 30 years ago.
– Output in the mining sector shrank 17.8% because of sanctions on exports of coal and minerals, while the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector contracted by 1.8% because of drought.
North Korea’s population, estimated at 25.13 million, has a per head annual income of $1,298, the South Korean central bank said.
The United States and South Korea say tightening international sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programmes have been instrumental in leader Kim Jong Un’s decision to pursue denuclearisation talks with the United States.
Last week, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said rates of malnutrition and disease were increasing in North Korea as it faces a harvest that is half of what was expected. James Belgrave, an official at the U.N. World Food Programme who visited North Korea in April, said recently that there had been a drop of up to 20% in North Korea’s wheat and barley production due to an early dry spell.
[Nikkei Asian Review]