N. Korean economy shrinks for 3rd consecutive year in 2022

SEOUL, The North Korean economy shrank for the third year in a row in 2022 amid international sanctions and the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Wednesday.

The North’s real gross domestic product (GDP) inched down 0.2 percent on-year last year, following a 4.5 percent drop in its GDP in 2020 and a 0.1 percent decline in 2021, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The fall came as the production from its mining and manufacturing industry tumbled 4.6 percent on-year and the output from the agricultural and fishery sector skidded 2.1 percent.

The North’s nominal GDP stood at 36.2 trillion won (US$27.84 billion) last year, which came to a mere 1.7 percent of South Korea’s GDP of 2,161.8 trillion won.

North Korea’s nominal gross national income (GNI) came to 36.7 trillion won, and its per capita GNI stood at 1.43 million won, or nearly one-thirtieth of South Korea’s.

The communist county is facing international economic sanctions for its weapons program and closed its borders from January 2020 to September 2023 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

North Korean workers and students pay tribute in front of the statues of the country’s late founder, Kim Il-sung (L), and his late son and successor, Kim Jong-il, at Mansudae Hill in Pyongyang on Oct. 10, 2023, on the occasion of the ruling party’s 78th anniversary, in this file photo released by the North’s Korean Central News Agency the following day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution)

North Korea’s total trade value surged 122.4 percent on-year to $1.59 billion last year, compared with Seoul’s $1.42 trillion.

The North’s exports jumped 93.9 percent on-year to $16 million and imports spiked 126.1 percent to $1.43 billion.

China was North Korea’s top trading partner, accounting for 96.7 percent of the North’s total transactions with the outside world, followed by Vietnam with 1 percent and Argentina with 0.8 percent, the data showed.

Pyongyang’s grain production amounted to 4.51 million tons in 2022, down 4 percent from a year earlier.

North Korea’s population stood at 25.7 million last year, up 90,000 from a year earlier. It compared with South Korea’s 51.67 million in 2022.

North Korean men had a life expectancy of 71.9 years last year, while women were expected to live to 78.3 years.

South Korean men, in comparison, were expected to live to 79.9, and the female life expectancy was 85.6.

South Korea’s statistics office has published general information on North Korea since 1995 to shed light on its economic and social conditions, and it plans to provide more information by presenting new indices, such as natural disasters, diseases and smoking rate.

Source: Yonhap News Agency