>> North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jung Un is many things, though economic reformer doesn't usually make the list. That said, the price of everyday goods for everyday people has stayed largely stable under his rule, even under the strain of punishing sanctions and nuclear tests that definitely don't come cheap.
That's because North Korea’s now home to a thriving semi legal market that traffics private goods and as Reuter's James Pearson reports Kim's happy let those at the heart of it do their thing.>> The markets of North Korea such an important force their relationship between the state and markets is a very difficult one to manage you kinda have to imagine the market like a pressure valve if you open it too quickly then the lid will blow off.
if you don't open it at all, the lid will also blow off. So this very sort of delicate letting alone of the markets underneath Kim Jong-un has so far been fairly successful, it seems.>> North Korea's centrally planned rationing system never recovered after a massive famine in the 90s.
Where the state has failed the grey market has stepped in.>> As more and more imported stuff is coming from places like China, over the border with North Korea, there's been a demand amongst North Korean consumers for things other than what they've always had. For example, we've heard in the past stories about a toothpaste factory that's gone from producing just one kind of toothpaste to several different kinds of toothpaste marketed at different parts of the North Korean consumer audience.
>> There are a few rough patches in the north's economy, petrol and diesel prices spiked on fears the latest round of sanctions would target fuel, before settling down again. And of all things, pork prices spiked during the summer, nothing political there, just most North Koreans don't have refrigerators.