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North Korea’s rice and corn prices rebounded in 10 days… What happened?

North Korea’s rice and corn prices rebounded in 10 days… What happened?

03/27/2024 17:02

China’s Triad Customs, taken in March 2024. (Photo = NK Times)

Recently, food prices in major regions of North Korea were found to have rebounded significantly over the past 10 days.

As a result of NK Times’ food price coverage on the 25th, the price of rice per kg in Pyongyang, Sariwon, Pyongsong, and Hamheung increased significantly from 5,900 won to 6,500 won on the 15th, and the price of corn rose significantly from 2,800 won per kg to 3,500 won per kg.

In particular, food prices in the northern border areas of Ryanggang Province and North Hamgyong Province were found to have increased more significantly than inland areas.

The price of rice in Hyesan and Hoeryeong fell from 6,600 won to 6,000 won per kg 10 days ago, but began to rise again on the 17th and has risen significantly to 6,900 won as of the 25th. Corn prices also rose from 2,800 won to 3,600 won per kg.

This rise in food prices in North Korea is attributed to state-led smuggling activities and the resumption of trade.

In fact, as of this month, it has been reported that quantities are being brought into North Korea more than twice a week through national smuggling and official trade in the border areas between North Korea and China in Ryanggang Province and North Hamgyong Province.

As supplies were brought into North Korea, food prices began to decline from the beginning of this month to the middle of this month. Previously, this newspaper reported on the 15th that the prices of major grains in North Korea had fallen significantly. (Related article: North Korea, grain prices fall significantly… Resumption of smuggling and trade is the cause)

However, the source explained that from around the 17th, as the import volume of agricultural materials, construction materials, and industrial products increased significantly, the demand for yuan soared, leading to a shortage of foreign currency (yuan), which led to a rise in exchange rates and food prices.

In fact, the source said, “Recently, as many goods such as food supplies and industrial products are imported from China, the demand for foreign currency (yuan) has increased rapidly, and the current (25th) currency exchange rate has risen to 1,700 won (North Korean money) per 1 yuan, but even that is not the spot price. “Because there is no money, many people are going here and there to exchange foreign currency,” he said.

***This article was translated by Google and may differ from the Korean version of this article.

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