For obvious reasons, trying to come up with any reliable inflation in North Korea is tricky.
In an authoritative new study on hyperinflation*, economists Steve Hanke and Nicholas Krus attempted to do so in a fascinating way.
The evidence is far from conclusive, but by examining the foreign exchange black market and by observing changes in the price of rice, the research suggests that North Korea suffered a bout of hyperinflation between December 2009 to mid January 2011. At its height, in March 2010, prices might have risen by a staggering 496 per cent over the course of a single month.
Though the research cannot firmly conclude whether or not North Korea experienced a bout of hyperinflation, the economists manage to pull together enough reliable data to reveal there have been far more episodes of hyperinflation than commonly thought.
Uncovering episodes of hyperinflation is fraught with difficulty as they tend to happen in extreme conditions and in parts of the world where the data is not altogether reliable. Read more