SEOUL - North Korea's moribund economy posted rare growth last year on robust harvests and a flurry of building activity in the capital Pyongyang, but it still remains one of the world's poorest and least developed states, an official report by the South shows.

The reclusive state's economy expanded by a real 0.8 percent in 2011, estimates by South Korea's central bank showed on Sunday. It was only the second time in the past six years the closed economy has expanded.

North Korea's economy, which a few decades was the envy of its neighbors, went into free-fall with the collapse of its main benefactor, the Soviet Union, in the early 1990s. The North now relies heavily on China for economic and political support.

The North has been further isolated and squeezed by international sanctions, imposed for its nuclear and missile programs.

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