South Korea slipped in the global gross domestic product (GDP) rankings last year. It is now the 13th largest economy after Russia and India as of 2006, falling one notch from a year earlier.
According to World Bank statistics, Korea's GDP totaled $888 billion as of 2006, ranking 13th among the 183 countries surveyed. It has kept sliding in the rankings, from 11th in 2002 to 12th in 2004 and 13th in 2006. It fell one step down to 12th from 11th in terms of total gross national income (GNI) as well, with the GNI totaling $857 billion.
The United States remained the biggest economy in the world with a $13.2 trillion GDP, followed by Japan with $4.3 trillion and Germany with $2.9 trillion.
China, the world's most promising developing country, meanwhile, rose two steps up the GDP ladder during the last two years to become the world's fourth biggest economy in 2006 from the sixth largest in 2004.
The oil rich Russia also jumped up three steps, proceeding to 11th place from 14th with a $987 billion GDP. All BRICs countries are above Korea in the rankings now, with China placed at fourth, Brazil at 10th, Russia at 11th and India at 12th.
Economists attribute the fall to the low economic growth rate. Korea recorded 3.1 percent GDP growth rate in 2003, falling below the average world GDP growth rate for the first time. It has continued to fall short of the world average since then. Korea's GDP grew by 5 percent last year, for example, 0.5 percentage points lower than the global average growth rate of 5.5 percent. However, it is very difficult for a country to record a high growth rate once its economy reaches a certain level.
Korea's per capita GNI recorded $17,690, the 49th highest in the world.
The Korea Times: July 30, 2007