Insight: Won for the money: North Korea experiments with exchange rates




 
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Insight: Won for the money: North Korea experiments with exchange rates
 
November 3rd, 2013  
News Manager
 

Topic: Insight: Won for the money: North Korea experiments with exchange rates


Insight: Won for the money: North Korea experiments with exchange rates
By James Pearson SEOUL (Reuters) - In a dimly-lit Pyongyang toyshop packed with Mickey Mouse picture frames and plastic handguns, a basketball sells for 46,000 Korean People's Won - close to $500 at North Korea's centrally planned exchange rate. Luckily, for young North Koreans looking to shoot hoops with Dennis Rodman, the new friend of leader Kim Jong Un, the Chinese-made ball actually costs a little less than $6 based on black market rates. Once reserved for official exchange only in zones aimed at attracting foreign investment, and in illegal underground market deals elsewhere, black market rates are being used more frequently and openly in North Korean cities. Publicly advertised prices at rates close to the market rate - around 8,000 won to the dollar versus the official rate of 96 - could signal Pyongyang is trying to marketise its centrally planned economy and allow a burgeoning "grey market" to thrive.




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