South Korea’s economy 11th biggest in the world, as of 2015

Posted on : 2016-08-17 18:02 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Last year’s ranking was two years higher than previous year, after deep contractions in Russia and Australia
South Korea’s world economic ranking. Data: World Bank
South Korea’s world economic ranking. Data: World Bank

As of the end of 2015, South Korea’s economy had become the 11th largest in the world.

According to the World Bank, South Korea’s nominal GDP (gross domestic product) in 2015 was US$1.38 trillion, having moved up two ranks from the year before. Nominal GDP in dollars is the indicator that is commonly used to compare the size of national economies.

South Korea’s ranking in nominal GDP in dollars had hovered around 11th and 12th in the early 2000s until rising to 10th in 2005, but after that it slid, bottoming out at 15th in 2008. Since then, the country’s rank has gradually risen, and it reached 13th in 2014.

South Korea’s rise in the economic ranks last year resulted from a major economic contraction in two countries that had been ahead of it: Russia (10th as of 2014) and Australia (12th). Exports of raw materials - the main driving force behind growth in these countries - had slowed considerably because of falling prices.

The Russian and Australian economies shrank by 34.7% and 7.9%, respectively, in the space of a single year. During the same period, the South Korean economy only decreased by 2.4%.

The country with the largest economy as of last year was the US. The US has a nominal GDP of US$17.95 trillion, which is 13 times larger than South Korea. Next in the ranking are China (US$10.87 trillion), Japan (US$4.12 trillion), Germany (US$3.36 trillion) and the UK (US$2.85 trillion).

In related news, the nominal GDP of South Korea that the World Bank announced is somewhat different from the figure previously released by the Bank of Korea: the World Bank reported that South Korea’s GDP is US$1,377.9 billion, while the Bank of Korea reported it as being US$1,377.5 billion.

This difference results from the different estimation methods used by these two organizations. When estimating GDP in dollars, the Bank of Korea uses the average exchange rate of the year in question, while the World Bank uses the average exchange rate of the past three years.

By Kim Kyung-rok, staff reporter

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