South Korea - Economic Indicators

Asia-Pacific Economic Briefing: Here We Go Again

May 25, 2018

Download the full version of the Asia-Pacific Briefing with Weekly Highlights Renewed geopolitical hostilities dominated on Friday, as the economic data calendar was quiet. The much-anticipated summit between North Korea and the U.S. was cancelled at President Donald Trump's request. The summit was to be the first ever meeting between Washington and Pyongyang, and was expected to be the first meaningful step towards North Korea's nuclear disarmament....

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GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Private Consumption 2018 Q1 189,747 188,664 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Real Gross Domestic Product 2018 Q1 395,932 391,681 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Real Government Consumption 2018 Q1 59,609 58,182 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Real Investment 2018 Q1 139,076 135,657 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2018 Q1 128,329 124,612 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Private Consumption 2017 Q4 211,617 209,657 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2017 Q4 434,912 441,248 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Government Consumption 2017 Q4 67,481 67,163 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Investment 2017 Q4 137,759 136,370 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2017 Q4 135,212 136,637 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Price Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Producer Price Index (PPI) Apr 2018 104.13 104.04 Index 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Consumer Price Index (CPI) Apr 2018 104.3 104.16 Index 2015=100, NSA Monthly
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Labor Force Employment Apr 2018 26,807 26,862 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Apr 2018 1,068 1,116 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Unemployment Rate Apr 2018 3.8 4 %, SA Monthly
Labor Force Apr 2018 27,875 27,978 Ths. #, SA Monthly
Agriculture Employment 2017 1,393,827 1,413,690 # Annual
Wage & Salaries 2017 Q1 133.51 127.09 Index 2005=100 Quarterly
Real Wages & Salaries 2016 734,890 697,988 Bil. KRW Annual
Total Employment 2015 20,889,257 19,899,786 # Annual
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Imports of Goods Apr 2018 43,400,000 44,800,000 Ths. US$ NSA Monthly
Balance of Goods Apr 2018 6,600,000 6,800,000 Ths. US$, NSA Monthly
Exports of Goods Apr 2018 50,100,000 51,600,000 Ths. US$ NSA Monthly
Current Account Balance Mar 2018 5,180 3,964 Mil. USD, NSA Monthly
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2018 Q1 214,646 205,675 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2018 Q1 211,485 200,542 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Real Net Exports 2018 Q1 3,161 5,133 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Exports of Goods and Services 2017 Q4 180,876 193,145 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Imports of Goods and Services 2017 Q4 163,294 165,413 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Net Exports 2017 Q4 17,581 27,731 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Government Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Government Budget Balance Dec 2017 24,029 29,177 Bil. KRW YTD, NSA Monthly
Government Revenues Dec 2017 403,839 375,562 Bil. KRW YTD, NSA Monthly
Government Expenditures Dec 2017 379,809 346,385 Bil. KRW, NSA Monthly
Outstanding Public Debt 2017 Q4 418,823 410,548 Mil. USD, NSA Quarterly
Markets Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Lending Rate 25 May 2018 1.5 1.5 %, NSA Daily
Stock Market Index 24 May 2018 2,466 2,471 Index, NSA Daily
Treasury Bills (over 31 days) Mar 2018 1.88 1.85 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Average Long-term Government Bond Mar 2018 2.71 2.77 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Money Market Rate Mar 2018 1.49 1.49 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Real Estate Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Vacancy Mar 2018 58,004 60,903 #, NSA Monthly
Building Permits 2017 171,875 178,955 Ths. m², NSA Annual
Residential Building Permits 2017 70,255 78,420 Ths. m², NSA Annual
Consumer Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Retail Sales 2018 Q1 39,433 39,774 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Retail Sales Dec 2017 123.7 128.9 Index 2010=100, SA Monthly
Consumer Confidence Nov 2017 112.3 109.2 Index, NSA Monthly
Business Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Business Confidence Apr 2018 98.57 98.57 Index long term avg=100, SA Monthly
Real Change in Inventories 2018 Q1 41.4 1,409 Bil. 2010 KRW, SA Quarterly
Industrial Production Mar 2018 105.8 91.9 Index 2015=100, NSA Monthly
Change in Inventories 2017 Q4 2,546 -266.5 Bil. KRW, SA Quarterly
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Birth Rate 2050 7.03 6.97 # per Ths. pop., NSA Annual
Death Rate 2050 16.12 15.81 # per Ths. pop., NSA Annual
Population 2050 47,731,321 48,162,628 Person, NSA Annual
Births 2016 406,300 438,420 #, NSA Annual
Deaths 2016 281,000 275,895 #, NSA Annual
Net Migration 2012 169,634 # Annual

Factbook

Background

Background:
An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. In 1910, Tokyo formally annexed the entire Peninsula. Korea regained its independence following Japan's surrender to the US in 1945. After World War II, a democratic-based government (Republic of Korea, ROK) was set up in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula while a communist-style government was installed in the north (Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK). During the Korean War (1950-53), US troops and UN forces fought alongside ROK soldiers to defend South Korea from a DPRK invasion supported by China and the Soviet Union. A 1953 armistice split the Peninsula along a demilitarized zone at about the 38th parallel. PARK Chung-hee took over leadership of the country in a 1961 coup. During his regime, from 1961 to 1979, South Korea achieved rapid economic growth, with per capita income rising to roughly 17 times the level of North Korea.
South Korea held its first free presidential election under a revised democratic constitution in 1987, with former ROK Army general ROH Tae-woo winning a close race. In 1993, KIM Young-sam (1993-98) became the first civilian president of South Korea's new democratic era. President KIM Dae-jung (1998-2003) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his contributions to South Korean democracy and his "Sunshine" policy of engagement with North Korea. President PARK Geun-hye, daughter of former ROK President PARK Chung-hee, took office in February 2013 as South Korea's first female leader. In December 2016, the National Assembly passed an impeachment motion against President PARK over her alleged involvement in a corruption and influence-peddling scandal, immediately suspending her presidential authorities and establishing Prime Minister HWANG Kyo-ahn as Acting President. The impeachment was upheld in March 2017, triggering an early presidential election on 9 May 2017. South Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Discord with North Korea has permeated inter-Korean relations for much of the past decade, highlighted by the North's attacks on a South Korean ship and island in 2010, the exchange of artillery fire across the DMZ, and multiple nuclear and missile tests in 2016, and missile tests in 2017.

Geography

Location:
Eastern Asia, southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
Geographic coordinates:
37 00 N, 127 30 E
Map references:
Asia
Area:
total: 99,720 sq km
land: 96,920 sq km
water: 2,800 sq km
country comparison to the world: 110
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Indiana
Area comparison map:
Land boundaries:
total: 237 km
border countries (1): North Korea 237 km
Coastline:
2,413 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm; between 3 nm and 12 nm in the Korea Strait
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
Climate:
temperate, with rainfall heavier in summer than winter; cold winters
Terrain:
mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
Elevation:
mean elevation: 282 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m
highest point: Halla-san 1,950 m
Natural resources:
coal, tungsten, graphite, molybdenum, lead, hydropower potential
Land use:
agricultural land: 18.1%
arable land 15.3%; permanent crops 2.2%; permanent pasture 0.6%
forest: 63.9%
other: 18% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
7,780 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
with approximately 70% of the country considered mountainous, the country's population is primarily concentrated in the lowland areas, where density is quite high; Gyeonggi Province in the northwest, which surrounds the capital of Seoul and contains the port of Incheon, is the most densely populated province; Gangwon in the northeast is the least populated
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons bring high winds and floods; low-level seismic activity common in southwest
volcanism: Halla (1,950 m) is considered historically active although it has not erupted in many centuries
Environment - current issues:
air pollution in large cities; acid rain; water pollution from the discharge of sewage and industrial effluents; drift net fishing
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location on Korea Strait; about 3,000 mostly small and uninhabited islands lie off the western and southern coasts

People & Society

Population:
51,181,299 (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Nationality:
noun: Korean(s)
adjective: Korean
Ethnic groups:
homogeneous
Languages:
Korean, English (widely taught in junior high and high school)
Religions:
Protestant 19.7%, Buddhist 15.5%, Catholic 7.9%, none 56.9% (2015 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.21% (male 3,484,398/female 3,276,984)
15-24 years: 12.66% (male 3,415,998/female 3,065,144)
25-54 years: 45.52% (male 11,992,462/female 11,303,726)
55-64 years: 14.49% (male 3,660,888/female 3,756,947)
65 years and over: 14.12% (male 3,080,601/female 4,144,151) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 36.7
youth dependency ratio: 19
elderly dependency ratio: 17.7
potential support ratio: 5.6 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 41.8 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 43.4 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
Population growth rate:
0.48% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
Birth rate:
8.3 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
Death rate:
6 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
Net migration rate:
2.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
Population distribution:
with approximately 70% of the country considered mountainous, the country's population is primarily concentrated in the lowland areas, where density is quite high; Gyeonggi Province in the northwest, which surrounds the capital of Seoul and contains the port of Incheon, is the most densely populated province; Gangwon in the northeast is the least populated
Urbanization:
urban population: 82.7% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 0.55% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
SEOUL (capital) 9.774 million; Busan (Pusan) 3.216 million; Incheon (Inch'on) 2.685 million; Daegu (Taegu) 2.244 million; Daejon (Taejon) 1.564 million; Gwangju (Kwangju) 1.536 million (2015)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
31 years (2014 est.)
Maternal mortality rate:
11 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 82.5 years
male: 79.3 years
female: 85.8 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Total fertility rate:
1.26 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 219
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
80%
note: percent of women aged 15-44 (2009)
Health expenditures:
7.4% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 72
Physicians density:
2.23 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density:
10.3 beds/1,000 population (2009)
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 99.7% of population
rural: 87.9% of population
total: 97.8% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.3% of population
rural: 12.1% of population
total: 2.2% of population (2012 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
4.7% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 184
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
0.7% (2010)
country comparison to the world: 135
Education expenditures:
4.6% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 75
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 16 years (2013)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 10.7%
male: 11%
female: 10.5% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Korea
conventional short form: South Korea
local long form: Taehan-min'guk
local short form: Han'guk
abbreviation: ROK
etymology: derived from the Chinese name for Goryeo, which was the Korean dynasty that united the peninsula in the 10th century A.D.; the South Korean name "Han'guk" means "Land of the Han," where "han" may have its origins in the native root for "great [leader]" (similar to the title "khan")
Government type:
presidential republic
Capital:
name: Seoul; note - Sejong, located some 120 km (75 mi) south of Seoul, is being developed as a new capital
geographic coordinates: 37 33 N, 126 59 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
9 provinces (do, singular and plural), 6 metropolitan cities (gwangyeoksi, singular and plural), 1 special city (teugbyeolsi), and 1 special self-governing city (teukbyeoljachisi)
provinces: Chungbuk (North Chungcheong), Chungnam (South Chungcheong), Gangwon, Gyeongbuk (North Gyeongsang), Gyeonggi, Gyeongnam (South Gyeongsang), Jeju, Jeonbuk (North Jeolla), Jeonnam (South Jeolla)
metropolitan cities: Busan (Pusan), Daegu (Taegu), Daejeon (Taejon), Gwangju (Kwangju), Incheon (Inch'on), Ulsan
special city: Seoul
special self-governing city: Sejong
Independence:
15 August 1945 (from Japan)
National holiday:
Liberation Day, 15 August (1945)
Constitution:
effective 17 July 1948; amended many times, last in 1987 (2017)
Legal system:
mixed legal system combining European civil law, Anglo-American law, and Chinese classical thought
International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of South Korea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years
Suffrage:
19 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President MOON Jae-in (since 10 May 2017); note - President PARK Geun-hye (since 25 February 2013) was impeached by the National Assembly on 9 December 2016; PARK's impeachment was upheld by the Constitutional Court and she was removed from office on 9 March 2017
head of government: Prime Minister LEE Nak-yon (since 1 June 2017); Deputy Prime Ministers YOO Il-ho (since 13 January 2016), LEE Joon-sik (since 13 January 2016)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the president on the prime minister's recommendation
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a single 5-year term; election last held on 9 May 2017 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by president with consent of National Assembly
election results: MOON Jae-in elected president; percent of vote - MOON Jae-in (DP) 41.1%, HONG Joon-pyo (LKP) 25.5%, AHN Cheol-soo (PP) 21.4%, other 12.0%
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral National Assembly or Kuk Hoe (300 seats; 246 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 54 directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 13 April 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - NFP 33.5%, PP 26.7%, MPK 25.5%, JP 7.2%, other 7.1%; seats by party - MPK 123, NFP 122, PP 38, JP 6, independent 11
note: seats by party as of November 2017 - DP 121, LKP 116, PP 40, BP 11, JP 6, Minjung Party 2, Patriotic Party 1, independent 2, vacant 1
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of South Korea (consists of a chief justice and 13 justices); Constitutional Court (consists of a court head and 8 justices)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president with the consent of the National Assembly; other justices appointed by the president upon the recommendation of the chief justice and consent of the National Assembly; position of the chief justice is a 6-year non-renewable term; other justices serve 6-year renewable terms; Constitutional Court justices appointed - 3 by the president, 3 by the National Assembly, and 3 by the Supreme Court chief justice; court head serves until retirement at age 70, while other justices serve 6-year renewable terms with mandatory retirement at age 65
subordinate courts: High Courts; District Courts; Branch Courts (organized under the District Courts); specialized courts for family and administrative issues
Political parties and leaders:
Bareun Party or BP [YOO Seong-min] (split from the NFP)
Democratic Party or DP [CHOO Mi-ae] (renamed from Minjoo Party of Korea or MPK in October 2016; formerly New Politics Alliance for Democracy or NPAD, which was a merger of the Democratic Party or DP (formerly DUP) [KIM Han-gil] and the New Political Vision Party or NPVP [AHN Cheol-soo] in March 2014)
Justice Party or JP [SIM Sang-jeong]
Liberty Korea Party or LKP [HONG Joon-pyo] (formerly the New Frontier Party (NFP) or Saenuri and before that the Grand National Party [HONG Joon-Pyo])
Minjung Party (formed from the merger of the New People's Party (formerly the New People's Political Party or NPP) and the People's United Party or PUP)
Patriotic Party
People's Party or PP [AHN Cheol-soo]
Saenuri Party [CHUNG Kwang-Taek) (split from Liberty Korea Party in April 2017)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Christian Council of Korea
Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice
Federation of Korean Trade Unions
Korea Women's Association United
Korea Women's Hotline
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
Korean Veterans' Association
Lawyers for a Democratic Society
National Council of Churches in Korea
People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
International organization participation:
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CICA, CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador AHN Ho-young (since 18 July 2013)
chancery: 2450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-5600
FAX: [1] (202) 797-0595
consulate(s) general: Agana (Guam), Anchorage (AK), Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Marc KNAPPER (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-710
mailing address: US Embassy Seoul, Unit
telephone: [82] (2) 397-4114
FAX: [82] (2) 725-0152
Flag description:
white with a red (top) and blue yin-yang symbol in the center; there is a different black trigram from the ancient I Ching (Book of Changes) in each corner of the white field; the South Korean national flag is called Taegukki; white is a traditional Korean color and represents peace and purity; the blue section represents the negative cosmic forces of the yin, while the red symbolizes the opposite positive forces of the yang; each trigram (kwae) denotes one of the four universal elements, which together express the principle of movement and harmony
National symbol(s):
taegeuk (yin yang symbol), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon); national colors: red, white, blue, black
National anthem:
name: "Aegukga" (Patriotic Song)
lyrics/music: YUN Ch'i-Ho or AN Ch'ang-Ho/AHN Eaktay
note: adopted 1948, well-known by 1910; both North Korea's and South Korea's anthems share the same name and have a vaguely similar melody but have different lyrics

Economy

Economy - overview:
South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible economic growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, 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.
A system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, initially made this success possible. 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 1997-98 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model, including high debt/equity ratios and massive short-term foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 7% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 1999-2000. South Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4% annually between 2003 and 2007.
South Korea's export-focused economy was hit hard by the 2008 global economic downturn, but quickly rebounded in subsequent years, reaching over 6% growth in 2010. The US-Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified by both governments in 2011 and went into effect in March 2012. Between 2012 and 2016, the economy experienced slow growth – 2%-3% per year - due to sluggish domestic consumption, a drop in foreign demand for South Korean exports, increased competition from regional rivals such as China and Japan, and declining investment. The administration in 2016 faced the challenge of balancing heavy reliance on exports with domestic restructuring efforts in the country’s shipbuilding and shipping industries.
The South Korean economy's short-term challenges include a potential loss of consumer confidence due to issues with its mobile phone industry, as well as uncertainty stemming from a tumultuous domestic political situation. In the long-term, South Korea must deal with a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, dominance of large conglomerates (chaebols), and the heavy reliance on exports, which comprise more than 40% of GDP. South Korea’s low overall unemployment rate masks problems with high youth unemployment, low worker productivity, high labor underutilization, and low female participation in the workforce. The government has tried to implement structural reforms, but continues to face significant headwind from vested interests. Finally, the country could eventually face an unprecedented financial burden in the event the unification of the Korean Peninsula were to occur.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.934 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.857 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.787 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 15
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.411 trillion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2016 est.)
2.8% (2015 est.)
3.3% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$37,700 (2016 est.)
$36,900 (2015 est.)
$36,000 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
country comparison to the world: 48
Gross national saving:
36.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
35.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 48.8%
government consumption: 15.2%
investment in fixed capital: 29.7%
investment in inventories: -0.5%
exports of goods and services: 42.2%
imports of goods and services: -35.4% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 2.2%
industry: 38.6%
services: 59.2% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - products:
rice, root crops, barley, vegetables, fruit, cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, eggs, fish
Industries:
electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel
Industrial production growth rate:
3.3% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
Labor force:
27.25 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 4.9%
industry: 24.1%
services: 71% (2016 est.)
Unemployment rate:
3.7% (2016 est.)
3.6% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Population below poverty line:
12.5% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 6.8%
highest 10%: 48.5% (2015 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
34.1 (2015 est.)
34.1 (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
Budget:
revenues: $319.8 billion
expenditures: $305.3 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
22.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
1% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 26
Public debt:
45.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
45.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1% (2016 est.)
0.7% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
Central bank discount rate:
1.25% (31 December 2016 est.)
1.5% (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
3.37% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.53% (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Stock of narrow money:
$658.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$604.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Stock of broad money:
$1.993 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.917 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Stock of domestic credit:
$2.515 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.427 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.305 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.28 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.269 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Current account balance:
$98.68 billion (2016 est.)
$105.9 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Exports:
$511.8 billion (2016 est.)
$542.9 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
Exports - commodities:
semiconductors, petrochemicals, automobile/auto parts, ships, wireless communication equipment, flat displays, steel, electronics, plastics, computers
Exports - partners:
China 25.1%, US 13.5%, Vietnam 6.6%, Hong Kong 6.6%, Japan 4.9% (2016)
Imports:
$391.3 billion (2016 est.)
$420.6 billion (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Imports - commodities:
crude oil/petroleum products, semiconductors, natural gas, coal, steel, computers, wireless communication equipment, automobiles, fine chemicals, textiles
Imports - partners:
China 21.4%, Japan 11.7%, US 10.7%, Germany 4.7% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$371.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$367.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Debt - external:
$358.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$376.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$185 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$179.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$310.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$283 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Exchange rates:
South Korean won (KRW) per US dollar -
1,160.77 (2016 est.)
1,160.77 (2015 est.)
1,130.95 (2014 est.)
1,052.96 (2013 est.)
1,126.47 (2012 est.)

Energy

Electricity access:
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
Electricity - production:
528.1 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
Electricity - consumption:
497 billion kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
103 million kW (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
67.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
21.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
1.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
7.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Crude oil - imports:
2.942 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
Crude oil - proved reserves:
NA bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Refined petroleum products - production:
3.114 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
2.63 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Refined petroleum products - exports:
1.343 million bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Refined petroleum products - imports:
935,500 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Natural gas - production:
188 million cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
Natural gas - consumption:
69.63 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
Natural gas - imports:
43.43 billion cu m (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
Natural gas - proved reserves:
7.079 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
country comparison to the world: 88
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
599.3 million Mt (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 28,035,600
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 55 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 58.935 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 120 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
Telephone system:
general assessment: excellent domestic and international services featuring rapid incorporation of new technologies
domestic: fixed-line and mobile-cellular services widely available with the latter subscribership up to about 120 per 100 persons; rapid assimilation of a full range of telecommunications technologies leading to a boom in e-commerce
international: country code - 82; numerous submarine cables provide links throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 66 (2016)
Broadcast media:
multiple national TV networks with 2 of the 3 largest networks publicly operated; the largest privately owned network, Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS), has ties with other commercial TV networks; cable and satellite TV subscription services available; publicly operated radio broadcast networks and many privately owned radio broadcasting networks, each with multiple affiliates, and independent local stations (2017)
Internet country code:
.kr
Internet users:
total: 44.153 million
percent of population: 89.9% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13

Transportation

National air transport system:
number of registered air carriers: 12
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 348
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 65,482,307
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 11.297 billion mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
HL (2016)
Airports:
111 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 53
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 71
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 23 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 40
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 38 (2013)
Heliports:
466 (2013)
Pipelines:
gas 2,216 km; oil 16 km; refined products 889 km (2013)
Railways:
total: 3,874 km
standard gauge: 3,874 km 1.435-m gauge (2,727 km electrified) (2015)
country comparison to the world: 52
Roadways:
total: 99,025 km
paved: 91,195 km (includes 4,193 km of expressways)
unpaved: 7,830 km (2015)
country comparison to the world: 46
Waterways:
1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)
country comparison to the world: 50
Merchant marine:
total: 1,116
by type: bulk carrier 260, coal carrier 38, container ship 150, general cargo 178, LPG carrier 65, metal material carrier 10, petroleum goods/chemical goods carrier 253, petroleum tanker 51, refrigerated cargo 22, vehicle carrier 58, other 31 (2016)
foreign-owned: 31 (China 6, France 2, Japan 14, Taiwan 1, US 8) (2010)
registered in other countries: 523 (Hong Kong 3, Marshall Islands 170, North Korea 1, Panama 339, Singapore 2, Isle of Man 7, Cook Islands 1) (2016)
country comparison to the world: 12
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Busan, Incheon, Gunsan, Kwangyang, Mokpo, Pohang, Ulsan, Yeosu
container port(s) (TEUs): Busan (19,469,000), Kwangyang (2,327,000), Incheon (2,368,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Incheon, Kwangyang, Pyeongtaek, Samcheok, Tongyeong, Yeosu

Military & Security

Military expenditures:
2.3% of GDP (2016)
2.3% of GDP (2015)
2.64% of GDP (2014)
2.63% of GDP (2013)
2.61% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 25
Military branches:
Republic of Korea Army, Navy (includes Marine Corps), Air Force (2011)
Military service age and obligation:
20-30 years of age for compulsory military service, with middle school education required; minimum conscript service obligation - 21 months (Army, Marines), 23 months (Navy), 24 months (Air Force); 18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; women, in service since 1950, admitted to 7 service branches, including infantry, but excluded from artillery, armor, anti-air, and chaplaincy corps; HIV-positive individuals are exempt from military service (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
Military Demarcation Line within the 4-km-wide Demilitarized Zone has separated North from South Korea since 1953; periodic incidents with North Korea in the Yellow Sea over the Northern Limit Line, which South Korea claims as a maritime boundary; South Korea and Japan claim Liancourt Rocks (Tok-do/Take-shima), occupied by South Korea since 1954
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
stateless persons: 197 (2016)

Economic Indicators for South Korea including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the South Korea economy.