Daily NK reports market regulations easing

The particular regulations that seem to have been eased: the 10-day rule and price controls on rice.  No word on whether this easing is short-term or long-term in nature. 

From the Daily NK:

In an attempt to avert a food crisis and stem popular discontent, the North Korean authorities have reportedly bowed to pressure and started lifting market regulations across the country.

The decision, which apparently came into force at the start of February, may seem to be an abrupt one, yet it is largely inevitable. A food crisis has seemed to be on the cards for a while, while acts of violence against security officials have been occurring with increasing frequency and discontent among the people has been rising rapidly since the currency redenomination at the end of November.

An inside source reported the news to The Daily NK on Tuesday, saying, “Since February 1st, in Yangkang and Hamkyung Provinces, jangmadang regulations have been completely lifted. The price of rice, which had been more than 400 won, has now stabilized at between 250 and 300 won.”

The source added, “It is a good thing that the jangmadang is open. We were worried about a coming crisis as the rice price has been soaring and we have not been given any wages. That said, the people are watching the authorities’ next move, so they are still reticent to trade.”

Some foresee that, since the authorities have still not released state-designated price for rice in the jangmadang, they may be planning to allow it to just float with the market.

It is still unclear if the February 1st decree completely opened the market as it used to be or is just a temporary solution to avert a possible food crisis. Inside sources say they plan to wait and see.

Regardless, now that the jangmadang is open, exchange rates seem to be stabilizing as well. The dollar exchange rate, which was around 400 won, has fallen back to nearer 300 won in just two days.

Read the full story here:
Ban on Markets lifted
Daily NK
Jung Kwon Ho
2/3/2010

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