Market downturn takes toll on North Korea’s South Pyongan Province
Activity has significantly declined in some regional markets to the extent that many local residents are suffering from financial difficulties. Levels of theft and robbery have reached new heights, creating challenges for local residents in the new year.
“There has been a fall in demand for most things except foodstuffs, grains, and some winter clothes,” said a South Pyongan Province-based source on January 3. “Merchants aren’t selling much and there are even families who are under so much debt that they have had to sell their homes and live out on the chilly streets.”
“Some families ate corn rice up until last summer, but business has not been very good lately, so they had to mortgage their homes. They had been harangued mercilessly by debt collectors until they ultimately ended up selling their homes,” she continued.
“The issue is that there are many families all over North Korea who are undergoing similar difficulties. Many are now having difficulty even finding money to borrow, so money lenders are being considered ‘heroes’ by regular people.”
According to China’s customs agency last month, levels of Sino-DPRK export from January to November 2018 reached US $191.75 million, which was 88.6% lower than the amount during the same period in the previous year. Sanctions on North Korea have cut off the country’s routes of export and significantly impacting North Koreans working in trading and mining. Even those working in restaurants and logistics, along with some other industries, are suffering financially. ......