Rice prices in N.K. stabilized


Rice prices in North Korea have been stabilized owing apparently to China's large-scale rice aid and a better harvest, a Seoul-based Internet news outlet well-versed in the North reported Tuesday.

The latest rice prices per kilogram showed 4,000 North Korean won in Pyongyang, 3,970 won in Shinuiju in North Phyongan Province and 4,190 won in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, compared with 5,019 won, 4,970 won and 4,980 won, respectively, a year ago, Daily NK said, citing its North Korean sources.

Experts opined that the price stabilization was made possible due to China's provision of rice aid to the North's flood-stricken areas on a large scale and an improved rice harvest last year.

Last summer, six areas in North Hamkyong Province in the North were devastated by heavy rains accompanied by Typhoon Lionrock, with the United Nations having estimated that 138 North Koreans were killed and 400 others are missing due to the floods, with about 20,000 houses destroyed.

"As far as I know, the North has received a grand rice aid from China since the typhoon hit the nation in September," a source from the North's North Hamkyong Province was quoted as saying. Rumors have also circulated rice farming was good in Hwanghae and South Phyongan provinces, the source said.

In particular, the rice price in Hoeryong, North Hamkyong Province, which suffered serious typhoon damages, currently hovers around 3,600 won per kilogram, compared with 5,000 won in January last year, the source said.

"Rice prices are generally on the decline at markets in Pyongyang, and 70 percent of rice sold there is imports from foreign countries, including China," another source in South Phyongan Province said.


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