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Economy of South Korea

Population: 50 million in 20131

GDP: $1.30 trillion in 20132

GDP per capita: $25,977 nominal3 ($33,140 PPP4) in 2013

GDP growth rate: 3.0% in 20135


GDP by Industry 20126

Industry sectorValue added ($ billions) 2012Percent of total
Other activities38738.5%
Wholesale, retail trade, restaurants and hotels12011.9%
Transport, storage and communication717.1%
Mining and utilities272.7%
Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing272.7%
Total value added1,005100%


Unemployment rate: 3.1% in 20137

Employment by Industry 20138

Employment sector Employees (thousands) 2013Percent of total
Wholesale trade, retail trade and repair of motor vehicles3,66014.6%
Accommodation and food service1,9717.9%
Human health and social work1,5546.2%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing1,5206.1%
Transportation and storage1,4135.6%
Other service1,3125.2%
Administrative and support service1,1734.7%
Professional, scientific and technical1,0224.1%
Public administration and defence9663.9%
Finance and insurance8643.4%
Information and communication6922.8%
Real estate4851.9%
Arts, entertainment and recreation3921.6%
Activities of households as employers1720.7%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning900.4%
Water supply, sewerage and waste management730.3%
Mining and quarrying160.1%
Extraterritorial organizations and bodies70.0%
Total employment25,066100%


Top 10 Corporations by Revenue 2013* 9

RankCorporationRevenue ($ billions) 2013Profit ($ billions) 2013Assets ($ billions) 12/31/13Industry
1Samsung Electronics20927.3196Electronics
2SK Holdings1020.385Diversified
3Hyundai Motor807.7122Automobiles
5LG Electronics530.233Electronics
6Hyundai Heavy Industries490.149Shipbuilding
7Korea Electric Power490.1142Energy
8Kia Motors443.533Automobiles
9GS Caltex420.320Energy

* Corporate data calculated using the exchange rate 1093 KRW = 1 USD


Household Wealth: $3.67 trillion (282% of GDP) in 201410

Household Wealth per Adult: $95,664 in 201410

Gini Coefficient: .311 in 201111


Central Government

Central Government Revenue: $296 billion (23% of GDP) in 201312

Central Government Expenditure: $287 billion (22% ofGDP) in 201312

Central Government Budget Balance: +$9 billion (+1% of GDP) in 201312

Central Government Public Debt: $521 billion (40% of GDP) in Dec 2014* 13

Central Government 10 Year Bond Interest Rate: 2.36% on Jan 19, 201514

* Public debt calculated with the exchange rate 1093 KRW = 1 USD

Government Funds

Korea Investment Corporation: $57 billion (4% of GDP) in 201415

Tax Structure

Personal Income Tax Rates and Thresholds in 2013* 16

Corporate Tax Rate: 24.2% in 2014 17

* Thresholds calculated with the exchange rate 1093 KRW = 1 USD

Monetary Policy

Monetary Base (M1): $504 billion (39% of GDP) in Sept 2014* 18

Benchmark Interest Rate: 1.75% in Mar 201519

Total Reserves: $346 billion (27% of GDP) in 201320

Exchange Rate: 1093 Korean Wons = 1 U.S. Dollar on Jan 11, 2015 21

Inflation: 1.3% in 201322

* Monetary base calculated with the exchange rate 1093 KRW = 1 USD

Financial Institutions

Top 8 Financial Institutions by Assets 201323

RankFinancial InstitutionAssets ($ billions) Dec 2013*
1Woori Finance Holdings312
2Shinhan Financial Group285
3Hana Financial Group270
4KB Financial Group267
5Industrial Bank of Korea194
6Korea Development Bank153
7BS Financial Group43
8DGB Financial Group34

* Assets calculated with the exchange rate 1093 KRW = 1 USD

International Accounts

Exports: $557 billion (43% of GDP) in 201324

Imports: $517 billion (40% of GDP) in 201324

Trade Balance: +$40 billion (+3% of GDP) in 201324

Foreign Direct Investment Inflow: $12.2 billion (1% of GDP) in 201325

Foreign Direct Investment Outflow: $29.2 billion (2% of GDP) in 201325

Foreign Aid Inflow: N/A

Foreign Aid Outflow: $1.8 billion (0.1% of GDP) in 201326


1. Source: World Bank Indicators (Population) Go back
2. Source: World Bank Indicators (GDP) Go back
3. Source: World Bank Indicators (GDP per capita) Go back
4. Source: World Bank Indicators (GDP per capita PPP) Go back
5. Source: World Bank Indicators (GDP growth rate) Go back
6. Source: United Nations Statistics Division (GDP by industry) Go back
7. Source: World Bank Indicators (Unemployment rate) Go back
8. Source: International Labor Organization, Downloads (Employment by economic activity) Go back
9. Source: Annual reports (Corporate data) Go back
10. Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook (Household wealth) Go back
11. Source: CIA World Factbook (Gini coefficient) Go back
12. Source: CIA World Factbook (Government budget) Go back
13. Source: Korea National Assembly Budget Office (Public debt) Go back
14. Source: Investing.com (Government bond yield) Go back
15. Source: ESADE Sovereign Wealth Funds (Public funds) Go back
16. Source: OECD Stat Extracts, Public Sector, Tax Database (Individual tax rates) Go back
17. Source: Tax Foundation (Corporate tax rate) Go back
18. Source: Bank of Korea, Press Release, Monetary and Liquidity Aggregates (Money supply) Go back
19. Source: Bank of Korea, Monetary Policy Decisions (Benchmark interest rate) Go back
20. Source: World Bank Indicators (Total reserves) Go back
21. Source: Yahoo Finance (Exchange rate) Go back
22. Source: World Bank Indicators (Inflation rate) Go back
23. Source: Relbanks.com (Financial institutions by assets) Go back
24. Source: CIA World Factbook (Trade data) Go back
25. Source: OECD FDI in Figures (FDI data) Go back
26. Source: OECD Aid Statistics (Aid data) Go back