The Bank of Korea in South Korea said Sunday that the North's gross domestic product grew 0.8 percent in 2011.
The bank credits favorable weather and more use of fertilizer in boosting crop production in North Korea. It estimates the North's gross national income at $28 billion - compared to $1 trillion last year for South Korea.
The bank provides annual estimates of the North's economy by analyzing data gathered by South Korean government agencies. Pyongyang has not publicly released detailed economic data for decades.
The United Nations says North Korea continues to face chronic food shortages affecting two-thirds of the population.