North Korea economy 'on brink of collapse'
Sanctions have pushed North Korea's economy to the brink of collapse, statistics suggest.
Its economy contracted by 3.5pc in 2017, a sharp reverse from the 3.9pc growth in the previous year, 'The Korea Times' reported. The 2018 figure is almost certain to be worse due to sanctions on the regime's nuclear and missile programmes.
A report issued by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) estimates the North's GDP could have shrunk by 5pc.
A second study, by the Korea Development Institute, said the country's all-important trade with China was hit hard by sanctions, falling more than 50pc in 2018 to $2.46bn (€2.17bn) from $4.98bn (€4.4bn) in the previous year.
Exports totalled $220m (€194m) in 2018, an 87pc decline from the $1.65bn (€1.45bn) a year earlier.
Imports from China also suffered, falling 33pc to $2.24bn (€1.98bn). North Korea's trade deficit with its neighbour climbed to $2bn (€1.76bn).