North Korea devalues currency

December 3, 2009

From Richard Lloyd Parry, writing for the Times of London: North Koreans in misery as cash is culled

There were reports of public outrage and confusion after the announcement of the measure, which requires North Koreans to swap existing won notes for new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100 — effectively knocking two zeroes off their value. Because of a cap of 100,000 won per family (£475 at the official exchange rate), anyone with significant holdings of cash will have their savings wiped out.

“Loud sounds of weeping in every house have not ceased since the news was released,” a South Korean website quoted an inhabitant of Sinuiju, a city on the border with China, as saying. “Weeping and fighting between couples has not stopped anywhere. The atmosphere of the city is terrible now.”

….

In the capital, Pyongyang, yesterday only the few shops and restaurants permitted to trade in foreign currencies — patronised by the privileged elite and the city’s small foreign population — were open for business. All other enterprises and services based on cash, including markets, long-distance bus services, barbers’ shops, saunas and bath houses, were suspended until the revaluation of the won is completed next week.

According to the article, this is the first time North Korea has revalued its currency since 1959.

One comment

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I think this could be the beginning of the end for the North Korean regime or at least Mr Kim. It would be hard to believe that whatever comes wouldn’t be better than what they have now, we shall see.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive