Nov. 9 (UPI) -- North Korea's stock of capital rose 24% over the past 30 years, but most capital asset increases did not have an impact on the regime's manufacturing sector.
The Bank of Korea's North Korean Research Division said Monday following the "collapse of socialism in the '90s," North Korean capital stock declined significantly, but recovered beginning in the 2000s, Hankook Ilbo reported.
The BOK report, jointly published with Professor Hak Kil-pyo of Seoul National University, showed that by 2018, North Korea's capital stock had increased by 24% since 1989.
In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, equipment or facility assets comprised only 8% of all capital stock in the country.
That number could be an indicator North Korea has yet to update its aging power grids and rundown factories. For comparison, South Korean facility assets at the developmental stage averaged 32% of total capital stock from the '70s to '90s, according to Newsis.
The rise in North Korea construction asset stock since 1989 is the key driver in the overall increase, taking up a larger share of total capital stock. In 1989, the proportion of construction assets to facility assets was 8 to 2.
After the 2000s, that proportion rose to 9 to 1. The numbers mean North Korea's fixed assets going toward manufacturing may have never recovered since the Great Famine of the '90s, according to researchers Cho Tae-hyoung and Kim Min-jung.
Heavy sanctions imposed on the Kim Jong Un regime have also played a role in impeding North Korean development, according to the research. After recovering economic productivity in the 2000s, the North Korean economy may have contracted after 2017. International sanctions passed in August of that year banned all North Korean exports of coal, iron, lead and seafood, and imposed new restrictions on North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank.