NKorea in worst economic contraction in 2 decades: Seoul

SEOUL: South Korea says North Korea has suffered its worst economic contraction in more than 20 years due to international sanctions and bad weather.

The Seoul-based Bank of Korea said Friday that North Korea's economy shrank 4.1% last year from a year earlier. A bank statement said it's the North's second straight year of contraction and the worst performance since 1997, when the economy was estimated to have shrunk 6.5% in 1997.

The bank says its estimates are based on information provided by various South Korean government agencies.

UN sanctions on North Korea were toughened after North Korea conducted high-profile nuclear and missile tests in recent years. Experts say bad weather conditions like a prolonged drought and a heat wave last year have devastated the North's farm sector.