Won continues to fall in value

According to the Daily NK:

A source from Pyongyang told Daily NK about the current situation on the 4th, explaining, “The price of rice is 6,700 won now, 300 won more than it was two weeks ago. The markets weren’t able to operate properly while the people were being made to attend events for the mourning [of Kim Jong-il's death], and that lasted until the 18th. But even now there are people who are still hoarding food, so the situation is not getting any better.”

According to the source, there was word that rice would arrive in bulk from China after the Kim Jong Il mourning period, but supplies to markets barely changed despite evidence that some rice did arrive. Not only that, “Even though prices went on rising, the upper (the authorities) still tried to control areas of market operation during the mourning period, so there were traders selling rice secretly, and some alley traders (those operating beyond the market walls) asking for more than 8,000 won a kilo.”

“Municipal Party cadres kept telling us to try and wait because the Marshal (Kim Jong Eun) had issued an order to ‘ensure rice for the people,’” she mused. “But nobody believes that kind of talk anymore. Rice will be in short supply during January, and this is likely to go on into February given study sessions for the New Year’s Address and then preparation for Kim Jong Il’s birthday.”

“The U.S. Dollar exchange rate here is out of control, and has reached 9,100 won per dollar. Speculation has it that they will try yet again to control exchange rates this month, and this is making the exchange rate problem even worse,” she concluded. “In just Pyongyang’s markets, about 50% of the money in circulation is U.S. Dollars, 25% is Yuan and 25% is from here. I guess people want to have foreign currency more and more because they cannot foresee what will happen next.”

“People from this city can easily distinguish a real dollar from a counterfeit one, and people soon learn about traders who dare to deal in fakes,” she added.

Read the full story here:
Markets Mired in Mournful Turmoil
Daily NK
Lee Sang Yong
2012-1-4

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