North Korea's arms sales to Russia expected to revive its economy from decline
Photo: EPA

This year, North Korea is expected to see its first economic growth in many years due to the sale of artillery shells and missiles to Russia, which are being used in the war against Ukraine, reports Deutsche Welle.

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Since August 2023, North Korea has sent at least ten shipments of ammunition to Russia – roughly one million shells, according to South Korean intelligence. In early January 2024, it was revealed that Russia began receiving ballistic missiles from North Korea, using the first North Korean ballistic missiles in attacks on December 29 and January 2.

The agreements between North Korea and Russia are secret, and both parties deny them.

However, while these deals are described as an "act of desperation" for Russia, they are considered a "mega-deal" for North Korea, DW analyst Anvita Basu from Fitch Solutions said.

The total value of the sold munitions is estimated to be several billion dollars, a significant amount for North Korea's small economy (valued at just $24.5 billion).

"The economy [of North Korea] has been shrinking over the last five years. Therefore, the arms deal with Russia will help it return to growth, approximately 1% in 2024," Basu stated.

She said that her forecast is speculative, as North Korea does not disclose economic data. Most statistical information has to be gathered from the central bank of South Korea and North Korea's trade partners.