Coal expensive this winter

The Daily NK reports that coal prices in the DPRK have surged this winter (150,000w/ton in 2011 vs. 300,000w/ton in 2012) . They also report the price in hard currency:

At the time of writing, this coal can be bought at source for $150-$200 per ton. Wholesalers then sell it on in regional centers like Chongjin for up to $300. However, according to Daily NK’s source, “They even say that $300 leaves them with little profit, given the cost of transportation.”

This implies the exchange rate is approaching 10,000 w / 1US$. Exchange rate data shows this trend as well.

The Daily NK gives the following reasons for the price increase:

1. Inflation (2011-11 exchange rate with USD was between 2,9oow – 5,000w. 2012-11 exchange rate 4,000-8,000w)

2. Decreased supply from exhausted mines

3. Exports to China (According to statistics published by the Korean Trade Association in late 2011, coal exports from North Korea to China in the nine months to September that year were worth USD$830 million, double the 2010)

If we had the economic data it would be a fairly straightforward regression to determine the contributions of each of these variables on the price of coal. But we do not have the data.

Read the full article here:
Coal Prices Fuelling Chilly Times
Daily NK
Choi Song Min
2012-12-5

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