Confiscation Threat Spurs Grain Market Flood

The current rice price downturn in North Korea has been caused by the fact that wholesalers and individuals dumped rice and corn in bulk onto the market in order to avoid it being confiscated by the authorities, according to sources inside the country.

A source from North Hamkyung Province reported on the 26th that the rice price in Chongjin had dropped even further.

Recently, the authorities reportedly announced that food distribution would be normalized and that grain stored by individuals would be confiscated. Therefore, citizens started releasing their stored food onto the market in order to avoid confiscation, generating oversupply.

The source said on a telephone conversation with the Daily NK on the 26th, “In the Youth Park Market in Shinam-district, Chongjin, rice is now 480 won and corn 210 won per kilo.

The source said, “The Army security apparatus has been confiscating food stored by foreign currency earning organizations. It is a part of the implementation of their plan to lower food prices to state-designated levels.”

One North Korean resident told The Daily NK last week, “Prices have been fluctuating since the redenomination, but now a notice has been handed down from the Cabinet saying that prices will be stabilized by April 1. It says the Cabinet will deal with this confusion in the people’s economy.”

The source added, “In inspections by the Prosecutors Department of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces and Defense Security Command, foreign currency earning apparatus affiliated with military units stationed in Chongjin and another five organizations were revealed to be storing around 260 tons of grains, which was confiscated. Around 90 tons of grain stored by the No. 9 Division was also taken and managers were interrogated by the inspections group.”

With the downturn in food prices, the exchange rate in Chongjin also went down to 690 won to the dollar.

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