SEOUL: North Korea’s economy expanded an estimated 1.0 percent in 2014—the fourth consecutive year of positive growth, South Korea’s central bank said on Friday.
The Bank of Korea put the North’s nominal gross national income (GNI) at 34.2 trillion won ($29.85 billion) in 2014—equivalent to just 2.3 percent of the South’s GNI.
North Korea does not provide official economic figures and the annual BOK report is based on data collected from the National Intelligence Service and other South Korean institutions specializing in the North.
The estimate does not take into account the North’s sizeable black economy, which has become a significant private market force in recent years.
The North’s economy has long been beset by shortages of electricity and raw materials, with sanctions imposed over its missile and nuclear weapons programs restricting access to international credit.
Following a 0.5-percent contraction in 2010, the economy nevertheless expanded 0.8 percent in 2011, followed by 1.3 percent in 2012 and 1.1 percent in 2013.
The bank said the North’s construction sector bounced back from a 1.0 percent fall in 2013 to a 1.4 percent expansion last year.
Foreign trade increased slightly from $7.34 billion in 2013 to $7.61 billion, with exports shrinking 1.7 percent on-year to $3.16 billion, and imports up 7.8 percent at $4.45 billion.