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5. N.Korea's economy posts sharpest drop in 20 years

South Korea's central bank has estimated that North Korea's economy posted its sharpest decline in 20 years in 2017, due to tougher international sanctions.

The Bank of Korea said on Friday that the North's Gross Domestic Product is estimated to have contracted 3.5 percent last year from 2016 in price-adjusted real terms. The bank says it's the first negative growth since 2015.

It says North Korea's mining sector contracted 11 percent. Coal output plunged after exports were banned by the UN Security Council last year.

The heavy chemical industry shrank 10.4 percent. The agriculture, forestry and fishery sector fell 1.3 percent due to a drought.

The country's total trade value dropped 15 percent to around 5.5 billion dollars. Per capita Gross National Income stood at about 1,250 dollars, about 4 percent of the level in South Korea.

Bank of Korea officials say North Korea's economy has suffered for years from international sanctions, but it was hit harder last year than previously, as its traditional ally China joined the trade restrictions.
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