Rice Price Stable around 1,000 Won

[imText1]North Korean commodity prices in private markets are stable with slight increase.

The Daily NK had conducted commodity price research in northern and southern North Korea from the end of last year to this January. According to the research result, rice price, despite some regional difference, averaged around 1000 NK won per kilogram. The price of North Korea’s most fundamental grain differed based on local rice production and whether it was inland or border area.

In Sinuiju, a city bordered with Chinese Manchuria, residents enjoyed relatively low price of rice due to the city’s proximity to China and breadbasket of the country, Pyongan Province. Sinuiju’s rice price was as follows: North Korean rice 850 won per kg, South Korean one 870 per kg, and Chinese imports 800/kg. Other than rice, every item shoed little increase in price except for pork meat (2500 won per kg).

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Basic Price (Sinuiju – January 4th)


Price (N.Korean won)

Rice (1kg)

Sinuiju – 830 (produced in NK),800(produced in China)

Kangdong hosts a military hosptial and military camp. Consequently, it maintains an excess supply of rice, making rice cheaper in Kangdong than in Sinuiju.

Kangdong – 750(produced in NK), 850 (produced in South Korea)

Corn (1kg)

Sinuiju – 340 (NK), 300 (China)

Pork (1kg)


An egg


A chicken (2kg)


Soy bean oil (1kg)


Salt (1kg)


Wheat flour (1kg)


Diesel oil (1kg)/Gasoline (1kg)

2200 / 2700

Exchange rate (a dollar)

3,270 / 1Yuan = 425won

In northernmost North Korea, Chongjin had had relatively high rice price. The port city close to Russia had been quarantined since outbreak of scarlet fever. In Chongjin, both North and South Korean rice cost around 1000 won/kg, and Chinese 900 won/kg.

The reason for stability of rice price around 1000 won/kg in North Korea is, in spite of what is happening outside the country, steady supply of the grain to meet next year’s demand. And moreover, stocking up or price regulations, which usually occur when shortage in rice production is expected, had not happened yet.

Given current rice circulation in private market, this spring would not be as bad as outsiders worry. Informers say that they could smuggle rice out of China whenever necessary.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s won had been weakened consistently. In second half of last year, market exchange rate was 2950 won per dollar; it is now 3270 won/ US dollar. Won per Chinese yuan has risen from 375 won/ 1yuan to 425 won/ yuan during the same time period.

In general raise in exchange rate forces commodities price to increase; however in North Korea, prices heavily depend on change in supply rate since the country is suffering ongoing shortage of it. For example, last year when the army started selling its gasoline stockpile, oil price fell from 3000 won/ kg to 2500-2600 won/kg in one month.

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northern provinces prices for December 2006

Items (1kg)

Price (N.Korean won)

NK rice / SK rice / Chinese rice

1000 / 1000 / 900



Wheat flour


Pork (1kg)


An egg


Cabbage / radish / Potato

350 / 200 / 250

Soy bean oil / sugar / seasoning

3200 / 2200 / 5000

Pepper paste






There are much cheaper kind of socks, around 200won.

Sports shoes (produced in China)


There are lots of different goods according to the qualities.

Headache specific


Ballpointpen / pencil

300 /100

The NK products cost 10 or 20 won

A note book


There are price differences depending on the sizes of notebooks.

Land tax (per 4 sq. yds)


Exchange rate (a dollar)


1 Yuan


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