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Weather aids North Korea's economy

NORTH Korea's economy grew in 2008 after good weather boosted agricultural production, South Korea's central bank said yesterday.

The North Korea's gross domestic product for last year was estimated at US$24.7 billion, a 3.7 percent increase from 2007, Seoul's Bank of Korea said in a news release. The North Korea's economy shrank 2.3 percent in 2007 and 1.1 percent in 2006.

The central bank said the North Korea's economic growth was mainly because of "temporary factors" such as favorable weather conditions that resulted in an increase in agricultural production, and the arrival of oil shipments under an international disarmament deal on its nuclear program.

The size of North Korea's economy, however, was still about 2.6 percent of South Korea's, the bank said, adding it was "difficult" to determine whether last year's growth means the country's internal economic conditions have improved.

The bank said the North Korea's agricultural production increased 10.9 percent last year compared with 2007. The production of coal, iron ore and other minerals expanded 2.3 percent and the manufacturing industry increased 2.5 percent.

The South's central bank releases estimates of the North Korean economy with data from the National Intelligence Service. North Korea provides no details to the outside world of its economy.


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