Economic Focus – North Korea


North Korea’s standoff with South Korea only gets worst as the nation is now being severely affected by food shortages. According to the Herald Tribune, a report shows that the North Korean government has suspended food rations for six months in Pyongyang in an effort to save food.

The suspension of food rations will force the Pyongyang citizens to buy food with their own money or consume any private stockpiles. According to experts, a combination of factors made this year extremely harsh for the North Koreans. The North Korean Government is known to only ask for aid when the situation is critical like those in the 1990s when a famine killed one million of their inhabitants.

Floods this year has reduced the North’s autumn harvest last year from 11 to 13 percent. Higher food prices in the world have sapped Pyongyang’s ability to import grain. China, the biggest exporter to the North is also trying to control its own food prices by imposing high tariffs on food exports. Adding to that, the recent tension between the North and the South have resulted in the halting of South Korea’s food assistance this year.

Source: Herald Tribune

Facts – BBC

  • Full name: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  • Population: 23.8 million (UN, 2007)
  • Capital: Pyongyang
  • Area: 122,762 sq km (47,399 sq miles)
  • Major language: Korean
  • Major religions: Mainly atheist or non-religious, traditional beliefs
  • Life expectancy: 60 years (men), 69 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: 1 won = 100 chon
  • Main exports: Minerals and metals, cement, agricultural products
  • GNI per capita: n/a
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