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N. Korea maintains stable rate of inflation despite sanctions: report

All News 15:33 February 04, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to have maintained a relatively stable rate of inflation last year despite crippling sanctions restricting its global trade, a report showed Tuesday.

The report by a researcher at the Korean Institute for National Unification contradicts speculation that the prices of daily necessities have risen sharply in North Korea as sanctions undercut supplies to the communist state.

According to the report published in a monthly review of North Korean economic conditions by Korea Development Institute, a state-run think tank, the prices of such products as rice, seafood and refined oil remained stable last year.

The prices of rice stayed particularly stable thanks to an increase in imports of grains from China, apparently making up for a decline in food production amid poor harvests, the report said.

North Korea imported US$120 million worth of grains from China from the January-October period of last year, larger than the previous five-year annual average of $60 million, according to the report.

Seafood prices declined as fishery products, exports of which are restricted, flowed into the domestic market.

The prices of refined oil products also turned south last year, after spiking during the previous two years, as global oil prices stabilized and part of the shortages caused by sanctions appears to have been covered through smuggling, it added.

The report said that the overall economic activities related to people's daily lives in North Korea appear relatively stable, raising the possibility that the North Korean government is actively intervening to cushion the impact of sanctions on supplies.


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