DPRK markets return to normal

According to the Daily NK:

The jangmadang, having been temporarily suspended while the country was in mourning for Kim Jong Il, returned to normal operations on or around January 6th, sources report.

A Shinuiji source told Daily NK yesterday, “The people’s lives were thrown into turmoil by the non-operation of markets during the mourning period. The people are coming out into the market saying ‘now we must keep trading even if they give us hell’.”

The final normalization of market operations follows a December 25th decision to allow some ad hoc grasshopper trading in areas outside the formal markets and on main thoroughfares. This was reportedly done to highlight the caring nature of new leader Kim Jong Eun.

However, the move did not make life much easier for ordinary people, since they were mobilized for daily mourning events, limiting their capacity to trade, while keeping a constant eye on when things might be about to change.

In addition, immediately after the mourning period the people were unable to go back to the markets because of criticism sessions related to the mourning period and Joint New Year’s Editorial study meetings.

The source said, “The authorities allowed the markets again, but even as of the beginning of last week things were not going smoothly as we didn’t know how to mark the prices or if the markets would be operating normally or whether we would get in trouble for selling used or foreign items.”

“The people who had been around after Kim Il Sung’s death were uncomfortable because of the mourning period self-criticism sessions and did not go to the market, instead buying things like rice and daily necessities through individual sellers they already knew. However the market is back to normal now, just as it was in the past.”

Recently, there have been rumors going around that on Kim Jong Il’s birthday (February 16th) there will be food distribution and this is driving down the price of rice, sources say. Currency exchange rates are also falling because the authorities are cracking down on people who trade in or exchange U.S. Dollars and Yuan.

On December 10th, 2011 the Yuan exchange rate was 800-1,000 North Korean Won, while rice was 4,500-5,000 North Korean Won/kg. Now the Yuan is trading for 600 Won and rice is hovering around 4,000 Won.

Read the full story here:
Jangmadang Back to Normal
Daily NK
Park Jun Hyeong and Lee Seok Young


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