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PACIFIC WATCH

North Korea

June 26, 1995| Times Staff and Wire Reports

Economy Shrinks 1.7%: Continuing a five-year downward spiral, the Communist country's gross national product came to $21.2 billion last year, South Korea's central bank estimated, after piecing together figures from various sources. North Korea remains closed to the outside world and does not release economic data. The fall resulted from a drop in exports, the country's chronic shortage of fuel and raw materials and political uncertainty, Seoul-based Bank of Korea said. Political uncertainty, the result of longtime leader Kim Il Sung's death last July, also contributed to economic instability, it said in an annual report. North Korea's two-way trade came to $2.11 billion last year, down from $2.64 billion in 1993.

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