A Hamkyung Province source has informed Daily NK this afternoon of a directive completely forbidding the use of foreign currency in markets, saying he was informed that “As part of the last instructions of Kim Jong Il, those who circulate foreign currency including Yuan and Dollars will be punished more severely than those who deal in drugs.”
“They said it is part of General Kim Jong Il’s last instructions and didn’t say what the reason is, so it is being strictly enforced,” the source added.
In North Korea’s markets, foreign currency is ordinarily preferred to the North Korean Won, and most transactions are conducted accordingly in Chinese Yuan. Therefore, if the new measure is actually enforced it has the potential to cause chaos.
However, it may be just a part of an ongoing competition to display loyalty to Kim Jong Eun, and given that the use of foreign currency is so ubiquitous in North Korea that it would be extremely hard to strictly enforce such a measure, may not last long.
Dong Yong Seung, a researcher with Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul commented after hearing the news from Daily NK, “They could be trying to increase the value of the North Korean Won by stopping use of other currencies.”