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Korea, North
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Economy

Economy - overview: North Korea ranks among the world's most centrally planned and isolated economies. The resulting economic distortions and the government's reluctance to publicize economic data limit the amount of reliable information available. State-owned industry produces nearly all manufactured goods, and the regime continues to devote its focus on heavy and military industries at the expense of light and consumer industries. Economic conditions remain stagnant at best and the country's deepening economic slide has been fueled by acute energy shortages, poorly maintained and aging industrial facilities, and a lack of new investment. The agricultural outlook, though slightly improved over previous years, remains weak. The combined effects of serious fertilizer shortages, successive natural disasters, and structural constraints - such as marginal arable land and a short growing season - have reduced staple grain output to more than 1 million tons less than what the country needs to meet even minimum international requirements. The steady flow of international food aid has been critical in meeting the population's basic food needs. The impact of other forms of humanitarian assistance such as medical supplies and agricultural assistance largely has been limited to local areas. Even with aid, malnutrition rates are among the world's highest and estimates of mortality range in the hundreds of thousands as a direct result of starvation or famine-related diseases.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $22.6 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,000 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 30%
industry: 42%
services: 28% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Labor force: 9.6 million

Labor force - by occupation: agricultural 36%, nonagricultural 64%

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget:
revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Industries: military products; machine building, electric power, chemicals; mining (coal, iron ore, magnesite, graphite, copper, zinc, lead, and precious metals), metallurgy; textiles, food processing; tourism

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 31.975 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 34.4%
hydro: 65.6%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 29.737 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: rice, corn, potatoes, soybeans, pulses; cattle, pigs, pork, eggs

Exports: $680 million (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

Exports - commodities: minerals, metallurgical products, manufactures (including armaments); agricultural and fishery products

Exports - partners: Japan 28%, South Korea 21%, China 5%, Germany 4%, Russia 1% (1995)

Imports: $954 million (c.i.f., 1998 est.)

Imports - commodities: petroleum, coking coal, machinery and equipment; consumer goods, grain

Imports - partners: China 33%, Japan 17%, Russia 5%, South Korea 4%, Germany 3% (1995)

Debt - external: $12 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $NA; note - an estimated $200 million to $300 million in humanitarian aid from US, South Korea, Japan, and EU in 1997 plus much additional aid from the UN and non-governmental organizations

Currency: 1 North Korean won (Wn) = 100 chon

Exchange rates: official: North Korean won (Wn) per US$1 - 2.15 (May 1994), 2.13 (May 1992), 2.14 (September 1991), 2.1 (January 1990), 2.3 (December 1989); market: North Korean won (Wn) per US$1 - 200

Fiscal year: calendar year



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