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N. Korea ranks lowest in economic freedom: U.S. think tank report

All Headlines 09:00 February 06, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea remains the least economically free country in the world as the totalitarian regime controls almost all economic activity and money flows, a U.S. think tank report showed Wednesday.

According to the Heritage Foundation's 2019 Index of Economic Freedom report, North Korea was ranked the last among 180 countries surveyed. The communist state has stayed at the bottom of the list since the foundation began to compile the annual report in 1995.

The ranking is based on its analysis of situations in four major categories -- rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency and open markets of each country.

North Korea's economic freedom score was 5.9 points out of 100, up 0.1 point from the foundation's previous report. It is still far lower than the average of 60.8 for all countries surveyed.

"The government commands almost every part of the economy and directs all significant economic activity," the report said. "Trade and investment flows are controlled by the government and negatively affected by multilateral economic sanctions."

In the open markets category, the report pointed out that the North has tolerated the "emergence of limited markets and informal entrepreneurship to stave off economic collapse."

The North's lowest economic freedom ranking contrasts with South Korea's ranking, which came in at 29th. The report gave 91.3 points for Seoul's business freedom, a subcategory under the regulatory efficiency area.

Hong Kong ranked first, followed by Singapore and New Zealand in terms of economic freedom. The report put Japan and China at 39th and 100th, respectively.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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