State Prices Finally Unveiled

Daily NK
Jung Kwon Ho

The North Korean authorities finally released fixed prices for 100 items across the country at 3 P.M. on Thursday.

A Daily NK source inside North Korea revealed the news today in a telephone conversation, saying, “The authorities announced state-designated prices for 100 items in a notice posted at the entrance to markets on Thursday afternoon.

Alongside the message came a warning, “If traders fail to sell goods at the stated prices, goods will be confiscated.”

The price list includes those for rice and corn. By implication, the selling of food has now been officially sanctioned in the market.

If the listed prices are enforced, however, confusion and anger are absolutely inevitable, because the gap between the newly-posted prices and real jangmadang prices is enormous.

For example, the latest real rice price in the jangmadang is 350 won per kilo, while corn is selling for 180 won; however the state-designated prices are 240 won and 130 won respectively. The jangmadang price of pork is around 300 won more expensive than its state-designated price.

Inevitably, therefore, traders’ increasingly wily attempts to circumvent the unrealistic demands of the state are continuing apace, “For now,” the source explained, “traders are pretending to sell for the released prices, but in reality they are selling for the existing jangmadang prices.”

According to the state price list, rice is 240 won per kilo; corn is 130 won; pork is 700 won; soy beans are 160 won; oil is 600 won; a kilogram of apples is 250 won; and a single egg is 21 won.

Meanwhile, a toothbrush is 25 won; bars of soap, tubes of toothpaste and laundry soap are all 50 won; sneakers are 500 won; toilet paper is 50 won; a notebook comes in various sizes between 25 and 55 won; lighters are 70 won; shoes are 1,300 won; a flashlight is 500 won and a single battery 100 won.

Children’s clothes are 1,500 won; children’s winter clothes are 5,000 won; and finally socks are listed as 350 won a pair.

UPDATE: Below is a table of prices from the Daily NK:


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