Korea, South

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Introduction - Korea, South:
Location - Korea, South:
People - Korea, South:
Government - Korea, South:
Economy - Korea, South:

Economy overview

Since the 1960s, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth and integration into the high-tech modern world economy. Four decades ago, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies. Today its GDP per capita is equal to the lesser economies of the EU. This success was achieved by a system of close government/business ties, including directed credit, import restrictions, sponsorship of specific industries, and a strong labor effort. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-99 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Koreas development model, including high debt/equity ratios, massive foreign borrowing, and an undisciplined financial sector. GDP plunged by 6.9% in 1998, then recovered by 9.5% in 1999 and 8.5% in 2000. Growth fell back to 3.3% in 2001 because of the slowing global economy, falling exports, and the perception that much-needed corporate and financial reforms had stalled. Led by consumer spending and exports, growth in 2002 was an impressive 7%, despite anemic global growth. Between 2003 and 2006, growth moderated to about 4-5%. A downturn in consumer spending was offset by rapid export growth. Moderate inflation, low unemployment, an export surplus, and fairly equal distribution of income characterize this solid economy.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$1.196 trillion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$897.4 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

4.8% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$24,500 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 3%
industry: 45%
services: 52% (2006 est.)

Labor force

23.77 million (31 December 2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 6.4%
industry: 26.4%
services: 67.2% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate

3.3% (December 2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

15% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 25% (2005 est.)

Distribution of family income gini index

35.8 (2000)

Inflation rate consumer prices

2.2% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

28.4% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $200 billion
expenditures: $201 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

Public debt

31.9% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish


electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel

Industrial production growth rate

8% (2006 est.)

Electricity production

345.2 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

321 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2004)

Oil production

7,378 bbl/day (2004)

Oil consumption

2.149 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil exports

644,100 bbl/day (2004)

Oil imports

2.83 million bbl/day (2004)

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

27.84 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

28.93 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Current account balance

$2 billion (2006 est.)


$326 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

semiconductors, wireless telecommunications equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals

Exports partners

China 24.7%, US 13.1%, Japan 7.5%, Hong Kong 4.2%, Taiwan 4.1% (2006)


$309.3 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, organic chemicals, plastics

Imports partners

Japan 17.4%, China 15.4%, US 11.2%, Saudi Arabia 6.4% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$239 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid donor

ODA, $744 million (2005)

Debt external

$249.4 billion (30 September 2006 est.)

Currency code

South Korean won (KRW)

Exchange rates

South Korean won per US dollar - 955.3 (2006), 1,024.1 (2005), 1,145.3 (2004), 1,191.6 (2003), 1,251.1 (2002)

Communications - Korea, South:
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Military - Korea, South:
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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Korea, South

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Korea, South

Photo: Korea, South
Korea, South

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Korea, South

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Korea, South

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