North Korean Economy Shrinks 3.5 Percent Under Sanctions Pressure

According to a report by South Korea’s central bank on Friday, the North Korean economy contracted 3.5 percent in 2017 under pressure by international sanctions. the idea was the largest contraction of the North Korean economy in two decades.

The contraction was even more significant because North Korea’s economy grew by 3.9 percent the previous year. The South Korean economy grew by 3.1 percent inside the same year North Korea’s contracted by 3.5 percent.

“The negative growth can be attributable to a drop in its mining output along using a retreat in its heavy along with chemical industries, as the United Nations imposed tougher sanctions over its nuclear along with missile activities,” said a Bank of Korea (BOK) official.

Yonhap News published some key details by the report:

Last year, the mining industry in North Korea tumbled 11 percent due to a drop in coal production, a sharp turnaround by a 8.4 percent growth in 2016. Its agricultural along with fisheries output fell 1.3 percent on-year, according to the data.

The manufacturing sector also suffered a 6.9 percent decline, compared to a 4.8 percent increase in 2016. Though light industry inched up 0.1 percent, the heavy along with chemical sectors sank 10.4 percent, the bank said.

The electricity, gas along with tap water business shed 2.9 percent in 2017 due to a fall in hydroelectric power production, along with the construction field posted a 4.4 percent decrease. although the service sector went up 0.5 percent.

The BOK put the North’s gross national income (GNI) in 2017 at 36.6 trillion won ($32.2 billion), which can be 2.1 percent of that will of South Korea. Its per-capita GNI stood at 1.46 million won, which can be 23-times less than the South’s.

The communist country’s trade volume stood at $5.55 billion last year, down 15 percent by a year earlier, the BOK said.

Exports tumbled 37.2 percent to $1.77 billion, while imports inched up 1.8 percent to $3.78 billion.

The volume of inter-Korean trade collapsed 99.7 percent on-year to log $900,000 in 2017, after the Seoul government shut down the joint industrial complex of Kaesong the previous year.

the idea should be noted that will all of these figures rely on some guesswork because North Korea does not publish reliable economic statistics along with (to put the idea mildly) discourages the careful study of its economy by outside analysts.

The International Monetary Fund attributed a Great deal of the massive drop in North Korea’s export volume to reduced Chinese purchases of resources such as coal. China’s compliance with sanctions has been far less than perfect, although reduced Chinese trade with North Korea apparently still exerted a profound effect on the North Korean economy.

“The sharp decline in North Korea’s exports last year can be a direct effect of the sanctions. The sanctions imposed by China last year, the biggest export destination of North Korean products, dealt a huge blow,” judged North Korea expert Kim Byung-yeon of Seoul National University, as quoted by the Washington Post.

The Post notes that will maintaining full sanctions pressure may be difficult moving forward since Russia can be lobbying the U.N. to lift some sanctions as a reward for its ostensible Great behavior, while China along with Russia are blocking efforts to tighten sanctions on petroleum products. U.S. policymakers familiar with North Korea’s standard game of pocketing concessions granted for symbolic along with temporary “concessions” want full sanctions maintained until North Korea actually terminates its nuclear missile program.

Keeping the pressure up can be important because some experts believe 2018 will be even harder for North Korea than 2017 was. In This particular view, the mildly encouraging steps Pyongyang has taken so far were prompted more by dread of the years to come than by the pain sanctions have inflicted so far. Things would certainly have to get considerably worse before the North Korean elite truly felt the pinch along with began worrying about maintaining its grip on power.

“The economy can be likely to get worse. I estimate This particular year’s growth rate can be at least minus 5% if the sanctions are fully along with thoroughly implemented,” said Seoul National University’s Kim.

Watchdog group 38 North argued on Wednesday that will despite visible signs of pressure on its economy, North Korea can be slowly winning its latest staring contest with the Western world.

In 38 North’s analysis, the “concessions” Russia can be so eager to reward dictator Kim Jong-un for creating are actually less significant than measures North Korea has taken inside the past, along with many of those turned out to be easily reversible. The Trump administration’s stated goal of “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” (CVID) remains a non-starter in Pyongyang; a significant reduction of visible nuclear activities while secret work continues along with stockpiled nukes are hoarded can be the best that will can be realistically hoped for at present.

by This particular perspective, counting the North Korean economy’s rough year in 2017 as a major accomplishment along with rewarding Kim Jong-un for the paltry concessions made thus far would certainly give Kim a major victory inside the showdown, as he would certainly emerge stronger than ever at the bargaining table, along with poised to reap the rewards of increased economic engagement with the outside world. North Korea can be clearly taking steps to cash in on post-sanctions euphoria at This particular very moment. The result could make 2017’s gloomy economy seem like a minor investment in riches to come, rather than a punitive experience that will forced Kim to the bargaining table.

This particular suggests two possible courses for U.S. policy: either keep sanctions pressure tough, dismiss everything North Korea has done so far as pure theater, along with wait for even worse economic hardship inside the years ahead to truly begin the CVID process, or devise a strategy to transform North Korea through engagement into the kind of state that will presents less of a threat.

There can be evidence to suggest both options are on the Trump administration’s mind. Both could explain why President Donald Trump keeps referring to North Korean denuclearization as a “long process” with “no time limit,” whereas he previously portrayed the idea as a matter of breathless urgency. Getting maximum pressure in place along with bringing the Kim regime to the table was urgent, although right now the idea will either take another year or two to break Pyongyang’s will, or the objective all along was to reduce the overall threat posed by North Korea rather than just neutralizing its nuclear missile program. South Korea certainly has little reason to feel safer just because North Korea hypothetically gives up its nukes although keeps thousands of conventional guns pointed at vulnerable South Korean cities.

In either case, the idea should be clear that will every act inside the North Korean nuclear drama over the past year was merely part of the prologue. If the Trump administration along with international community the idea as anything else, then Kim Jong-un can be indeed winning, no matter how lousy the outlook for North Korea’s economy might be today.

Source : North Korean Economy Shrinks 3.5 Percent Under Sanctions Pressure