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2020/2021 The DPRK Economic Outlook
CHAPTER 2. North Korea’s Fiscal Shock : What are the Economic Implications?

July 08, 2021

KDI


Introduction


Perhaps one of the most notorious of hermit kingdoms, even North Korea could not avoid the global pandemic of 2020. Indeed, whilst we can argue over case numbers, there is no denying that Covid-19 had a significant economic impact on the North Korean economy. The cumulative strain of stronger sanctions since 2017 would have been exponentially compounded by the sudden outbreak, aggravating conditions and diminishing the authorities’ budgetary management and policy capacity. This is given more credence by the tightly closed borders in the name of public health and disease control for the past year. And, although it may have been just a scramble for tangible results ahead of the Party Congress, the excessive push for the ‘80-day battle’ in spite of concerns over infection and public outcry serves as another likely indication.

Accordingly, this paper aims to assess the overall direction of North Korea’s economic policy in 2020 by reviewing the management and performance of the budget plan announced at the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) in April 2020. The results are also compared with the budget plan released at the SPA in January of this year to present an outlook. At the same time, an examination is conducted into how fiercer deterrence, a global health crisis, and a series of natural disasters have forced Kim Jong-un‘s economic policies to change, and what form they will take in the future.

* This article is part of 2020/2021 The DPRK Economic Outlook

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The Department of Macroeconomics is conducting researches on the macro economy and macroeconomic policy, particularly focusing on suggesting the analysis of macroeconomic trends and current status of the economy at home and abroad, the economic forecast, and the policy direction of the macro economy. The Department is also in charge of establishing, sustaining and maintaining various econometric models, based on which it analyses policy effects and develops a long-term economic forecast.

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