Korea surpasses Taiwan in per capita GNI once more, inching up to $33,745

Posted on : 2024-03-06 16:51 KST Modified on : 2024-03-06 16:51 KST
Although GNI per capita has gone up 2.6%, the change may not be very tangible to Koreans

South Korea posted a gross national income per capita of US$33,745 in 2023, catching back up with Taiwan. Korea’s GNI had fallen below US$33,000 in 2022, putting it below the self-ruled island for the first time in 20 years.

Provisional GNI figures for the fourth quarter and the entire year released by the Bank of Korea on Tuesday showed a GNI per capita of US$33,745, representing a 2.6% increase from the previous year.

Korea’s GNI in 2022 (US$32,886) had decreased by 7.4% from the previous year, falling behind Taiwan, but Korea managed to regain the lead last year. Taiwan’s GNI per capita in 2023 was US$33,299.

GNI per capita is calculated by dividing the nominal GNI (the amount of money earned by Korean citizens, including corporations and the government, in one year) by the population. That figure is then converted to dollars to facilitate international comparisons.

The Bank of Korea explained that the increase in the GNI per capita was partly driven by an increase in the nominal GNI itself. The nominal GNI denominated in dollars decreased by 7.6% in 2022 but then increased by 2.8% last year, buoyed by improving trade conditions.

Given the figure’s conversion to dollars, another contributing factor was the won-to-dollar exchange rate, which only increased by 1.1% last year, compared to the 12.9% increase in the previous year.

Although GNI per capita has gone up, the change may not be very tangible to Koreans. That figure includes not only households but also corporations and the government and is significantly impacted by trading conditions and exchange rates.

Korea’s real GNI per capita, which reflects people’s actual purchasing power, only increased 1.8% year over year.

By Jun Seul-gi, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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