The Bank of (South) Korea released a report on the economic growth estimation of North Korea in 2012. North Korean economy recorded positive growth for two consecutive years. Per capita gross national income (GNI) rose by 2.7 percent to 1,371,000 KPW against the previous year. However, the gap between the South and North has not narrowed.
Last year, North Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth was estimated to be 1.3 percent. This is the highest level since the financial crisis of 2008 when it surpassed the South Korean economic growth and reached the 3.1 percent growth.
Agricultural production improvement as well as international aid in heavy oil in 2008 permitted the North Korean economy to rebound brieflybut it began to decline resulting in minus growth in 2009 (-0.9 percent), 2010 (-0.5 percent), and 2011 (0.8 percent).
Agriculture, forestry and fishery industries last year made robust growth as well as manufacturing, engendering the boost in the economy. The construction of the Huichon Power Station was completed last year and it is considered to have attributed to the improvement in the power situation.
In terms of industries that accounted for the growth, agriculture, forestry and fishery made up about 23.4 percent of the nominal GDP, recording a production increase by 3.9 percent. Production of livestock such as swine and poultry husbandry rose by 12.3 percent and rice and corn production also increased due to improved fertilizer supply.
Production in manufacturing (21.9 percent of North Korean GDP) made a 1.6 percent increase. The rate of manufacturing production increased by 2.6 percent in 2008 but began to decline from 2009 at -3.0 percent; 2010, -0.3 percent; and 2011, -3.0 percent.
Production improved in food, tobacco and light industries by 4.7 percent, and heavy chemical industries rose by 0.2 percent. Mining (14 percent of GDP) also rose by 0.8 percent due to improvement in coal production. Electricity, gas and water supply (3.5 percent of GDP) also increased by 1.6 percent from the expansion of hydroelectric and thermal power generation. Service industry (29.4 percent of GDP) rose by 0.1 percent. Government services dropped by 0.2 percent but transportation and communication, wholesale and retail, food and lodging services increased by 2.0 and 2.2 percent, respectively. However, construction (7.8 percent of GDP) fell by 1.6 percent due to the decrease in the civil construction such as road works.
Last year, North Korea’s gross national income (nominal GNI) was estimated to be 33.5 trillion KPW. Compared to South Korea’s 1.28 quadrillion KRW, this is a ratio of about 1 to 38.2. By dividing the GNI by North Korean population, per capita gross national income is calculated to be 1,371,000 KRW. Compared to South Korea’s (25,589,000 KRW) it is 1 to 18.7. This is comparable to the figures recorded in 2011 (1 to 18.6).
North Korea’s foreign trade volume (based on only import and export excluding the inter-Korean trade) increased 7.1 percent to 6.81 billion USD. North Korea’s exports (2.88 billion USD) increased by 3.3 percent, mainly in chemical products (38.0 percent) and animal products (23.6 percent). As for imports (3.93 billion USD), textiles (17.6 percent) and transport equipment (6.2 percent) increased by 10.2 percent.
Last year, the size of trade between North-South Korea rose by 15.7 percent over the previous year at 1.97 billion USD. Import and export to and from the Kaesong Industrial Complex accounted for 99.5 percent of the total amount. North Korea’s export increased 12.1 percent -- mainly machinery (28.2 percent) and electrical and electronic equipment (16.1 percent) -- and imports to South Korea increased by 17.5 percent -- electrical and electronic products (25.8 percent) and textiles (12.8 percent).