North Korea's Economy Had A Relatively Good 2011

north korean tractor simulatorThis North Korean school boy trains on a tractor simulator.

Photo: AP Images

There’s no doubt that North Korea continues to be one of the most impoverished countries in the world.But new data out of South Korea’s central bank shows that North Korea’s $28 billion economy actually grew modestly in 2011.

From Reuters’ Christine Kim:

“The reclusive state’s economy expanded by a real 0.8 per cent in 2011, estimates by South Korea’s central bank showed on Sunday. It was only the second time in the past six years the closed economy has expanded.

Growth in 2011 was led by the agriculture, fishing and forestry industries which expanded by 5.3 per cent after a 2.1 per cent decline in 2010, thanks to good weather conditions and increased use of fertiliser, the estimates showed.

Construction also grew a sharp 3.9 per cent in 2011 after a 0.3 per cent gain in 2010, owing to projects to modernize housing conditions in Pyongyang.”

Kim notes that the building was triggered to honour the 100th birthday of Kim Il-Sung. An estimated 100k homes were built in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.

Investors looking to play North Korea may consider the North Korean bond market.

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