Recent imports from China have led to a dramatic drop in the price of certain food items.

File photo: North Koreans hawking goods at a street market in Hyesan, Yanggang Province. (Daily NK)

The recent surge in food imports from China has caused prices of certain food items to drop dramatically in North Korean markets, the country’s Daily NK sources reported Wednesday.

As recently as mid-October, a kilogram of Chinese soybean oil was priced at 28,000 won in Pyongyang, but as of last Sunday it had fallen to 23,000 won.

Moreover, with so much edible oil on the market, Pyongyang residents say they haven’t seen so much soybean oil on market stalls in years.

Ordinary North Koreans, who don’t eat much meat, often supplement their fat intake with soybean oil and even stockpile when prices temporarily drop like this, the sources said.

Chinese sugar, which was temporarily in short supply in North Korean markets after the COVID-19 border closure, was trading at 22,000 won a kilo in Pyongyang on Sunday.

In mid-October, sugar was trading between KPW 25,000 and KPW 28,000 per kilo. However, the price immediately fell by 6,000 KPW after imports increased.

The Chinese foods that have seen the most price drops are bean paste and chili paste.

Imports of Chinese miso and chili peppers were once so small that the price of miso soared to 15,000 KPW/kg and chili paste to 20,000 PW/kg.

However, recently both prices have fallen by 50%.

In fact, on the Pyongyang market, a kilo of soybean paste was trading at KPW 8,000 as of Sunday, while a kilo of chili paste was trading at KPW 10,000.

Pyongyang residents have called the drop in prices for soybean paste and chili paste “revolutionary.”

The Daily NK reported last month that North Korea is importing via freight trains from China and North Korea. Mainly foods such as soybean oil, sugar and seasonings.

Prices for these foods appear to have fallen as imported Chinese food hit local markets in mid-October.

Grain prices fall only marginally

Meanwhile, grain prices in the North Korean market have fallen slightly.

According to Daily NK’s regular North Korean market price survey, as of October 30, a kilogram of rice was priced at 5,840 won in Pyongyang.

In the previous survey on October 16, the price of rice was 5,870 won per kilogram, but the price has fallen slightly.

Corn prices have also fallen only marginally despite the end of the autumn harvest and freshly picked corn hitting local markets.

After the autumn harvest, large quantities of corn were shipped to the market. But North Koreans’ declining purchasing power means they are looking for corn instead of the more expensive rice. This caused a slight change in corn prices.

In fact, at the Pyongyang market, a kilogram of corn was priced at 2,750 won as of Sunday, just 20 won cheaper than the October 16 survey.

In Sinuiju, a kilogram of corn is 2,800 won, the same price recorded in an earlier survey by Daily NK.

However, in Yanggang Province, rice and corn prices have been slightly lower than in Pyongyang and Sinuiju, thanks to easier access to local markets for potatoes.

Until a few years ago, potatoes were a staple food in Ryogoku, except for the low-income earners.

Recently, more and more people are eating rice mixed with potatoes in Hyesan, the administrative center of the province.

“Esan is close to the potato-growing area, but because I lived in the city, few people used to eat potatoes as a staple food. said the muscle.

“People in the city who survived the smuggling operation are unable to carry out the smuggling operation, and there is a surge in people suffering during difficult times,” he added.

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