Economy - overview As one of the Four Tigers of East Asia, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth. Three decades ago GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. Today its GDP per capita is seven times India's, 17 times North Korea's, and comparable to the lesser economies of the European Union. This success through the late 1980 s 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 certain longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model, including high debt / equity ratios, massive foreign borrowing, and an undisciplined financial sector.

Growth plunged by 6. 6% in 1998, then strongly recovered to plus 10% in 1999 and 9% 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 have stalled. GDP purchasing power parity - $865 billion (2001 est. ) GDP - real growth rate 3.

3% (2001 est. ) GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $18, 000 (2001 est. ) GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 5% industry: 44% services: 51% (2001 est. ) Population below poverty line 4% (2001 est. ) Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2. 6% highest 10%: 24.

8% (1998 est. ) Distribution of family income - Gini index 31. 6 (1993) Inflation rate (consumer prices) 4. 3% (2001 est. ) Labor force 22 million (2001) Labor force - by occupation services 69%, industry 21. 5%, agriculture 9.

5% (2001) Unemployment rate 3. 9% (2001) Budget revenues: $118. 1 billion expenditures: $95. 7 billion, including capital expenditures of $22. 6 billion (2000) Industries electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, food processing Industrial production growth rate 1.

8% (2001 est. ) Electricity - production 273. 204 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source fossil fuel: 60. 63% hydro: 1.

45% other: 0. 03% (2000) nuclear: 37. 89% Electricity - consumption 254. 08 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2000) Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2000) Agriculture - products rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit; cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs; fish Exports $168. 3 billion (f. o.

b. , 2001) Exports - commodities electronic products, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, steel, ships; textiles, clothing, footwear; fish Exports - partners US 21. 8%, Japan 11. 9%, China 10. 7%, Hong Kong 6. 2%, Taiwan 4.

7% (2000) Imports $152. 3 billion (f. o. b. , 2001) Imports - commodities machinery, electronics and electronic equipment, oil, steel, transport equipment, textiles, organic chemicals, grains Imports - partners Japan 19. 8%, US 18.

2%, China 8%, Saudi Arabia 6%, Australia 3. 7% (2000) Debt - external $120. 5 billion (2001) Economic aid - recipient $NA Currency South Korean won (KRW) Currency code KRW Exchange rates South Korean won per US dollar - 1, 317. 01 (January 2002), 1, 290.

99 (2001), 1, 130. 96 (2000), 1, 188. 82 (1999), 1, 401. 44 (1998), 951.

29 (1997) Fiscal year calendar year NOTE: The information regarding Korea, South on this page is re-published from the 2002 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea, South Economy 2002 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea, South Economy 2002 should be addressed to the CIA.