RE: North Korea’s economic growth climbs to 17-year high in 2016 despite sanctions targeting nuclear program | Reuters | July 21st, 2017

Article Summary

According to Reuters, South Korea’s central bank released its annual economic report on North Korea today which it has done for the last 25 years despite the fact that North Korea doesn’t share its own economic data.

The data, which is collected by South Korea’s Ministry of Unification and the National Intelligence Service, shows North Korea’s GDP grew 3.9% in 2016. This is reportedly the fastest growth North Korea has experienced in the last 17 years in spite of increasing economic sanctions imposed as punishments for successive nuclear missile tests going back to 2006.

To put this growth into perspective, the financial experts at suggest that a healthy economy is one in which the GDP growth rate is between 2-3%.

It remains to be seen if the Chinese ban on coal imports from North Korea or the current food shortages due to the worst drought since 2001 will have an impact on the GDP in 2017.

Article Commentary

Having been on the ground quite a few times this year, it does appear that the economy in the DPRK is experiencing rapid growth. The number of new products, expanding networks and ways to deliver goods across the country is astonishing.  Much of this increase is said to have been stimulated by the following factors:

1) The gradual increase in sanctions over the past few years has lead the DPRK to look at ways to be more self-sustaining economically and resistant to foreign inputs and further sanctions.

2) Over the past few years, there has been a surprising amount of restructuring and policy changes focused on developing the economy that have been implemented and are beginning to have effect.

3) From conversations with my DPRK partners and average citizens, the people of the DPRK are becoming more and more confident and supportive of their leadership and are seeing many positive changes, in both rural and urban areas, which is stimulating a renewed energy among the people. Through multiple accounts, people are said to be working harder within their work groups, organizations, and individuals which is said to have had a very positive impact on economic growth.

We invite you to see the growth of the economy for yourself on one our upcoming economic and trade focused trips to the DPRK. Click below to join us!


North Korea’s economic growth climbs to 17-year high in 2016 despite sanctions targeting nuclear program | Reuters | July 21st, 2017

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