SEOUL, June 27 North Korea's closed economy rose
last year at a slightly slower pace compared to 2013, South
Korea's central bank data showed on Friday, even as the United
Nations toughened sanctions for its nuclear and missile
Trade in the impoverished country, under the iron rule of
the Kim family for more than 60 years, stood at an all-time high
since records were first kept in 1990.
North Korea does not release economic data. The Bank of
Korea across the border is the only official government entity
that provides estimates about the economic performance of the
Despite the expanded output, North Korea's economy and trade
was just a fraction of industrial powerhouse South Korea, with a
continued heavy reliance on China, its main benefactor.
The slower pace of growth also dimmed a high-profile policy
of leader Kim Jong Un to bring prosperity and higher standard of
living for its people with a massive construction drive.
North Korea is heavily sanctioned under U.N resolutions, for
its nuclear and missile tests dating back to 2006, and its ties
with South Korea have been cut back sharply after Seoul
suspended most commercial projects and aide since 2010.
The Security Council's sanctions on Pyongyang target the
country's missile and nuclear programmes and attempt to punish
North Korea's reclusive leadership through a ban on the export
of luxury goods to the country.
North Korea has conducted several nuclear and long range
The Bank of Korea said in a statement that the secretive
state's gross domestic product rose 1.1 percent in 2013,
compared to an annual 1.3 percent incline in 2012, led by
agricultural growth thanks to favourable weather conditions last
In broad terms, all major sectors posted positive growth in
North Korea in 2013 on-year with the exception of construction.
Residential construction grew but it was offset by the fall
in road pavement projects, the Bank of Korea said.
The industrial production sector, which has the heaviest
share in North Korea's GDP index grew 1.5 percent, slightly
faster than a 1.3 percent growth posted in 2012.
Farm production grew 1.9 percent on an annual basis last
year, slowing down for a second consecutive year.
Trade in North Korea last year stood at a record high of
$7.3 billion worth, exporting $3.2 billion and importing $4.1
billion. A central bank official said 89.1 percent of trade in
North Korea last year was with China.
The numbers dwarf in comparison with southern neighbour, one
of Asia's export powerhouses, as South Korea's trade stood at
$1.1 trillion last year while exporting $559.6 billion worth.
On an annual basis, North Korean trade was up 7.8 percent in
2013, while exports jumped 11.7 percent.
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Jack Kim and Jeremy