North Koreans like to spend US dollars
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North Koreans like to spend US dollars

According to analysts, North Korean people are using USD and Chinese Yuan (NDT) more than ever after the country’s won was revalued in 2009, causing the savings of millions of people to almost disappear completely.

North Korea is one of the most secretive countries in the world.

After the 2009 revaluation, the North Korean won fell miserably against the US dollar.

Analysts at the Samsung Economic Research Institute (South Korea) estimated that about 2 billion USD in foreign currency was circulating in North Korea in April, equal to 10% of GDP.

The use of foreign currency is so prevalent that Pyongyang can do almost nothing to improve it, said Marcus Noland – North Korea expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (USA).

A Chinese merchant in the border town of Changbai, near Hyesan, said the North Korean officials he met wanted RMB more than anything, including food.

Clip: Black market in Hyesan

Pyongyang has carried out many campaigns to prevent the use of foreign currency, but without success.

A Chinese citizen said: `I have heard many stories about North Koreans hiding foreign currency under the floor or burying it on hills. No one wants to deposit it in the bank because they have lost faith in the Government.`

In 2009, the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suddenly announced a revaluation of the won.

This also caused inflation to skyrocket and according to the South Korean Intelligence Agency, some protests also broke out when North Koreans realized that won was not a safe currency to store.

USD has been used in North Korea for decades, partly through official trade activities.

The black market exchange rate has shown that the won has depreciated very strongly since 2009. According to Daily NK, the currency has dropped 30%, down to 8,500 won per USD.

The use of the Korean won in this country is very rare.

Dong Yong-Sueng, a senior expert at the Samsung Economic Research Institute, said it is difficult to estimate the amount of North Korean won remaining in circulation.

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