North Korea ‘panic’ after surprise currency revaluation

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North Korea’s marvel decision to redenominate its currency has brought on panic and melancholy among merchants left with piles of worthless notes, even using one couple to suicide, activists said nowadays.

North Korea informed residents and overseas embassies on Monday that it’d redenominate its country wide forex, the gained, diplomats said. Residents in the reclusive communist kingdom had been told they have got till Sunday to exchange a constrained amount of antique payments, they said.

The news despatched Pyongyang residents speeding to the black marketplace to transform hoarded payments into US greenbacks and chinese yuan, South Korea’s Yonhap information enterprise reported, mentioning unidentified North Korean investors running in neighbouring China.
North Korea celebrates Kim Jong-il's birthday
Stores, bathhouses, barber stores and eating places have closed, activists stated.

“We heard enterprise and marketplace activities have been all suspended,†said Lee Seung-yong, a legit at good buddies, a Seoul-based totally civic organization that sends meals and other aid to North Korea. “Human beings have no cash to interact in business.â€

Government have threatened “cruel punishment†for every person violating currency exchange policies, precise friends stated.

The overhaul of the North Korean won – the maximum drastic in 50 years – objectives to lower runaway inflation and clamp down on the street markets that have sprung up in the tightly managed nation, analysts said.

Not able to feed its 24 million human beings, the regime commenced allowing some markets in 2002, inclusive of farmers’ markets.

The markets may also have advocated change but in addition they added in banned goods along with movies and cleaning soap operas from South Korea, threatening leader Kim Jong-il‘s totalitarian rule, analysts said. The u. s. a.’s biggest wholesale marketplace, in Pyongyang, reportedly closed in June.

With the currency overhaul, the government is retaking manage of the financial system from traders, analysts stated.
“This is aimed toward rooting out the budding personal sector,†stated Jeong Kwang-min, a studies fellow at the Institute for national protection method in Seoul, adding that the pass has a broader intention: to pave the manner for Kim Jong-il handy energy to his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, and to make sure he inherits a solid economy.

Kim, 67, has led North Korea considering the fact that 1994 but he is stated to have suffered a stroke in August 2008.

The of a has persisted monetary turmoil since the crumble of the Soviet Union and flooding and economic mismanagement in the mid-1990s. North Korea since has trusted international food handouts and useful resource negotiated in alternate for guarantees to dismantle its nuclear programme.

A great deal of that useful resource has been suspended, and international sanctions tightened, because of Pyongyang’s nuclear defiance.

The forex overhaul comes simply days earlier than President Barack Obama’s envoy on North Korea visits Pyongyang to try to steer the regime to go back to nuclear disarmament talks.

North Korea introduced on kingdom radio that the alternate price might be set at one hundred old won to at least one new gained, one foreign diplomat stated. Residents will simplest be allowed to exchange one hundred fifty,000 won for the brand new forex, consistent with South Korea’s Joong Ang Ilbo newspaper and different media shops tracking North Korean radio.

Coins in excess of the allowed amount must be saved in authorities-run banks, but it changed into not clear if citizens ought to change that money into new payments, consistent with South Korean media.

A stampede in Hoeryong, in the north-east, nearly forced the suspension of trains, with guards blocking off the entrance to a bank in the town, the Seoul-based totally network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights said, mentioning unidentified sources.

In North Hamgyong province, a service provider couple of their 60s killed themselves after listening to of the revaluation, stated the daily NK, a Seoul-based totally on-line news outlet that specializes in North Korean affairs.

Yoo Ho-yeol, a North Korea professional at Seoul’s Korea university, said he did no longer expect any similarly drastic measures. He said: “other types of personal financial organisation will ultimately spring up once more.â€

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