Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein
North Korea imported the largest-ever amount of rice from China on a monthly basis in September since the launch of the Kim Jong-un regime in 2011, in an apparent bid to stabilize prices, a U.S. broadcaster, monitored here, reported Thursday.
North Korea imported 18,477 tons of rice and other grains in September, the Voice of America said, citing an analysis of data from China’s General Administration of Customs by Kwon Tae-jin, director of East Asia research at GS&J Institute in South Korea.
The September figure was about 2.7 times higher than 6,954 tons imported in October and about six times higher than 3,158 tons imported a year ago in September, the broadcaster said.
In particular, the North purchased 16,000 tons of rice from China in September, a monthly high since the start of the Kim Jong-un regime, and higher than the 14,000 tons imported during the first eight months of this year total, the broadcaster said.
Experts opined that the step is designed to stabilize rice prices at a time when the stock has hit its bottom, the broadcaster said.
“This is the time when the harvest is around the corner, and the stock is nearly exhausted,” Kwon said.
N. Korea imports rice on large scale in Sept.
Discussions such as these are always complicated by the fact that for most regions, private market supply is probably far more important than whatever the PDS supplies.