DPRK’s trade drops 1st time in 11 yrs in 2009

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s trade appears to have dropped for the first time in 11 years in 2009 as its trade with China, South Korea and other major business partners declined, a South Korean state-run think tank said Wednesday.

The Korea Development Institute said in a report that Pyongyang’s trade with foreign countries were projected to have contracted “at least” 5 percent last year compared with a year earlier, citing statistics provided by China’s customs authorities.

“North Korea’s trade data have yet to be officially compiled but its trade with China and South Korea, its two major business partners, shrank last year (based on China’s statistics),” the report said. “Trade with the European Union also declined. Based on the statistics, its total trade is sure to fall last year.”

North Korea’s trade with China, its biggest business partner, amounted to $2.68 billion last year, down 4 percent from a year earlier, while its trade with South Korea dropped 8.4 percent, the report showed. The two nations accounted for 81.7 percent of Pyongyang’s annual trade.

“Even if its trade with all other nations held unchanged, North Korea is expected to see a decline considering trade figures with China and South Korea,” the report said. “This would mark the first contraction in 11 years since 1998.”

North Korea’s trade has been on a steady increase over the past decade with the amount estimated at $5.64 billion in 2008, up from $2.39 billion in 2000, the report showed.

The Korea Development Institute regularly publishes analysis of the North Korean economy—in Korean. I believe the data cited in this story comes from this February 2010 report, however I am not exactly sure. If any Korean readers can confirm this, I would appreciate it.

UPDATES in the comments.


2 Responses to “DPRK’s trade drops 1st time in 11 yrs in 2009”

  1. nk_kevin says:

    the information referred to is on page 85 of this report, with a table showing PRC-DPRK figures on 86. The table is sourced “China Maritime Customs Statistics (Monthly)”; KDI may be using just the maritime figures (excluding overland trade?) as an indicator of overall PRC-DPRK trade. should be careful, though, as another possible explanation is that rail cargo became cheaper and took some share of the total volume from the sea lanes? as always, data is a problem for us…

    also note that imports from China improved ever so slightly, and all the losses were in exports (7.1% drop).

  2. NKeconWatch says:

    Thanks for that! Very helpful.