07/29/2017, 13.20
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North Korea’s GDP grows by 3.9 percent, but North Koreans do not feel the benefits

Growth is due greater coal exports to China. North Korea’s per capital income is US$ 1,300 compared to South Korea’s US$ 28,600. Since the start of the year, Beijing has cut coal imports by 75 per cent.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.9 per cent per cent in 2016, this according to the Bank of Korea, South Korea’s central bank, which has monitored the economic performance of Kim Jong-un’s regime since 1991.

Agriculture, fisheries and forestry grew by 2.5 per cent. Mining – zinc, lead and coal – led the growth (+12.6 per cent), whilst heavy chemicals (+6.7 per cent) boosted manufacturing (+4.8 per cent).

Despite economic sanctions, trade grew by 4.7 per cent to US$ 6.5 billion, but the balance is negative with imports (US$ 3.7 billion) outpacing exports (US$ 2.8 billion). The dictatorial regime’s main trading partner is China.

Most North Koreans have not benefitted from the improved economy. North Korea’s per capita income stood at US$ 1,300 compared to South Korea’s US$ 28,600.

Faster economic growth in 17 years is due to mining, mainly coal, which is exported mostly to China. However, Beijing reduced coal imports from North Korea by 75 percent since the start of 2017.

The second negative note this year is the drought, the worst in 15 years, which could leave people without food, this according to UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

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