North Korea’s economy expanded by 1.0% to $29.85 billion in 2014, according to Reuters citing analysis from South Korea’s central bank.
The Bank of Korea (BoK) report that “the increase in economic activity was attributed mainly to growth in services and building while farming, mining and manufacturing saw slower growth”.
Growth in services, making up around 31.3% of total economic output, accelerated to 1.3%, up from 0.3% in 2013, with retail sales, food and accommodation, logistics and communications all expanding from a year earlier.
Construction increased by 1.4%, rebounding from a 1.0% contraction in 2013, with an increase in buildings offsetting declines in road and plant construction, according to the BoK.
Reuters notes that the BoK’s analysis did not include black market economic activity that has grown steadily in recent years, creating a consuming class with demand for products such as cosmetics, smartphones, fruit juices and foreign clothes, according to residents and visitors.
While modest economic expansion, the BoK suggest that a savage drought currently gripping the nation, the worst in a century, could hobble economic growth in the impoverished nation in the current calendar year.
North Korea does not release official economic data, hence the reliance on the BoK analysis to estimate economic output.