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N. Korea economy grows 1.1% in 2013: BOK

SEOUL -- North Korea's economy expanded an estimated 1.1 percent in 2013, marking the third consecutive year of positive growth, South Korea's central bank said Friday.

The Bank of Korea put the North's nominal gross national income (GNI) at 33.8 trillion won (US$33.3 billion), or roughly 2.3 percent of the South's GNI of 1.44 quadrillion won.

The bank said last year's expansion reflected gains in agriculture and mining, but a contraction in the construction sector meant the growth rate was slower than the 1.3 percent estimate for 2012.

The annual BOK report is based on data collected from the National Intelligence Service and other South Korean institutions specialising in the North.

The North's economy has been beset by shortages of electricity and raw materials, with sanctions imposed over its missile and nuclear weapons programs restricting access to international credit.

The agricultural and fishery industry grew 1.9 percent year-on-year in 2013, helped by favorable weather conditions, the bank said.

The mining sector expanded 2.1 percent while manufacturing and service industries grew 1.1 percent and 0.3 percent respectively, it said.

The North's foreign trade stood at US$7.34 billion, up 7.8 percent from a year ago. Exports rose 11.7 percent year-on-year to US$3.22 billion, and imports increased 5 percent to US$4.13 billion.

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