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Date : January 7, 2013
Rice Prices Continue to Rise
   http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk01500&num=10211 [850]

The Daily NK has reported that rice prices in North Korea have increased again due to inflation because of the mourning period for Kim Jong Il's death.

Kim Jong Il's mourning period had far reaching consequences for traders in North Korea. Those traders based in China were ordered to return home and customs checks were suspended.

Due to the demand to return home and the suspension of customs checks, many traders started hoarding goods. Despite the easing of suspension of customs checks, the hoarding has sparked inflation meaning rice prices have risen and the exchange rates have suffered.

A source told the Daily NK on the 4th that rice prices had risen by 300 won in the past two weeks to 6,700 won. The source said that the situation is not getting any better because the markets could not function properly due to the mourning period up until the 18th of December.

Rumors circulated that rice would arrive in bulk from China after the mourning period. The Daily NK source said that although it seems that some rice did arrive, it seems that this has had no impact on the availability of rice in the markets. One trader, the source reported, was trying to sell rice for 8,000 won per kilo.

The source said that no one believes Kim Jong Eun's edict for the delivery of rice. The source reported that due to the upcoming New Year's Address and the celebrations for Kim Jong Il's birthday, the rice situation is unlikely to change any time soon. As well as rice, the mourning period had implications for the exchange rates.

The dollar/won exchange rate reached $1 for 9,100 won. There is speculation, according to the Daily NK source, that the regime will interfere again with exchange rates later this month. The exchange rate problems have been especially hard because about 75% of currency used in markets in Pyongyang is foreign currency.

Source: the Daily NK.

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