South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol (C, front) and his wife, Kim Keon Hee (2-R, front), visit the U.N. Memorial Park in Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, South Korea, 27 July 2023, during the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement. EFE/EPA/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT

North Korea’s economy shrinks again, says South

Seoul, July 28 (EFE).- The North Korean economy contracted 0.2 percent in 2022, its third consecutive year of decline, as the effects of international sanctions and pandemic-induced strict border control measures dragged on.

An estimate published on Friday by the Bank of Korea (BoK) in Seoul said summer storms affected North Korean agriculture, which also contributed to the shrinking of the economy.

The 2022 data comes after an estimated fall of 0.1 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2020.

The hermetic country suffered its worst gross domestic product (GDP) contraction in 2020 since the famines at the end of the 1990s.

North Korea’s foreign trade more than doubled in 2022, according to the BoK report, led by intermediate goods like textile products.

“Internal virus controls eased a little, but the impact from economic sanctions and border closures continued while weather conditions worsened,” a BoK official told reporters.

The volume of North Korea’s external trade amounted to $1.59 billion in 2022, an increase of 122.3 percent from $0.71 billion in 2021.

Exports totaled $0.16 billion, an increase of 94.0 percent compared to the year before, while imports totaled $1.43 billion, an increase of 126 percent from the year before.

The BoK’s annual report on the North’s economy is based on data from South Korean institutions specializing in the hermetic country, which does not publish official economic data. EFE