Prices High But Stable in Markets

Prices in North Korea’s jangmadang are much the same now as they were when the markets were shuttered immediately after news of Kim Jong Il’s death was made public on December 19th.

Rice, often employed as a barometer for North Korea’s overall market conditions, was trading for around 4,500 won/kg in cities along the Sino-North Korean border yesterday. Having reached a high of 5,000 won in the weeks before Kim’s death but then falling back to 4,000 won nearer the 19th, the latest price is well within the levels which might have been expected, and certainly does not suggest much fear in the market going into today’s funeral for the former dictator.

According to sources, the modest fall back to 4,500 won is just a natural result of product circulation in the market, something that is also reportedly reflected in other products.

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Kang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Many of her articles are featured in the Jangmadang section of the Daily NK website. She has been interviewed by the New York Times and LA Times, among others, and is a contributor on North Korea issues for TBS and KBS.