Seoul: North Korea's economy shrinks 1st time in 5 years

SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea’s central bank says North Korea’s economy shrank 1.1 per cent last year, in its first contraction in five years.

The Bank of Korea said Friday that its estimates showed the impoverished economy likely contracted because of a huge downturn in power generation and manufacturing.

North Korea has rich natural mineral resources, but its output of iron ore and other resources fell last year.

The 1.1 per cent decline was the worst performance for the reclusive country since a 1.2-per cent contraction in 2007. Since Kim Jong Un took power following the death of his father in late 2011, the impoverished economy has averaged about 1 per cent growth annually.

The bank said North Korea’s overseas trade fell 18 per cent to $6.25 billion last year from 2014.