North Korean economy grows 1.1% in 2013: bank

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea's economy expanded an estimated 1.1 per cent in 2013, marking the third consecutive year of positive growth, South Korean central bank said on Friday.

The Bank of Korea put the North's nominal gross national income (GNI) at 33.8 trillion won ($33.3 billion), or roughly 2.3 per cent of the South's GNI of 1,441 trillion won. The bank said that last year's expansion reflected gains in agriculture and mining, but a contraction in the construction sector meant the growth rate was slower than the 1.3 per cent estimate for 2012.

The annual bank report is based on the data collected from the National Intelligence Service and other South Korean institutions specialising in the North. The North's economy has been beset by shortages of electricity and raw materials, with sanctions imposed over its missile and nuclear weapons programmes restricting access to international credit.

The agricultural and fishery industry grew 1.9 per cent year-on-year in 2013, helped by favourable weather conditions, the bank said. The mining sector expanded 2.1 per cent while manufacturing and service industries grew 1.1 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively, it said.

The North's foreign trade stood at $7.34 billion, up 7.8 per cent from a year ago. Exports rose 11.7 per cent year-on-year to $3.22 billion, and imports increased 5.0 per cent to $4.13 billion.

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Aaj Kal