Prices and exchange rates increase following currency re-denomination

According to the Korea Times:

In North Korea, the price of rice and currency exchange rates have been on a roller coaster ride since the failed currency reevaluation last November, a ruling party lawmaker said Thursday.

In a booklet, titled “Collection of National Assembly’s Annual Audit: North Korea 2010,” Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the Grand National Party claimed that creating a thriving market is the key to resolving economic problems in the Stalinist society.

North Korea watchers said the presence of a free market was the result of the communist party’s halt of the public food distribution system after the devastating famine hit the impoverished economy in the wake of massive floods in the mid 1990s.

The lawmaker released the booklet based on data and reports from the Ministry of Unification.

According to him, the price of one kilogram of rice was approximately 20 won before the currency reform. But it skyrocketed after that and hit 1,000 won early this year.

The range in the price of rice in late July reached between 1,300 and 1,500 won.

Along with rice prices, Yoon said foreign exchange rates were on a volatile up and down fluctuation as well.

The exchange rate for the North Korean won against the U.S. dollar was 30 won per dollar. But the dollar rate was rapidly appreciated to 1,000 won per dollar this March and rose further to 1,300 won per dollar.

Citing a unification ministry’s report, Yoon said some 300 to 350 markets were open in the North and there are one or two markets for every country [sic:  “county”].

North Korean authorities implemented the currency reform last year in order to repress the markets, but the failed results proved their bold miscalculations, he said.

Read the full story here:
Rice prices on a roller coaster ride in N. Korea
Korea Times
Kang Hyun-kyung


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