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North Korea's economy shrinks most in 21 years in 2018 - South Korea

North Korea's economy shrinks most in 21 years in 2018 - South Korea
FILE PHOTO: The 170-metre (558-feet) tall Juche Tower and other buildings are seen as morning fog blankets Pyongyang, North Korea, September 8, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo -
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Danish Siddiqui(Reuters)
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SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s economy shrank in 2018 for a second straight year, and by the most in 21 years, hit by international sanctions to stop its nuclear programme and by severe drought, South Korea’s central bank said on Friday.

North Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.1% last year in real terms, the worst since 1997 and the second consecutive year of decline after a 3.5% fall in 2017, the South’s Bank of Korea estimated.

North Korea does not disclose any statistics on its economy. The South Korean central bank has been publishing its estimates since 1991, based on information from various sources including the South’s foreign trading agencies.

North Korea’s international trade fell 48.4% in value in 2018 as tougher international sanctions in late 2016 and 2017 cut exports by nearly 90%, the Bank of Korea said.

Output in the mining sector shrank 17.8% because of sanctions on exports of coal and minerals, while the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector contracted by 1.8% because of drought, it said.

North Korea’s population was estimated at 25.13 million and annual income per head at $1,298, the South Korean central bank said.

(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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