Want to bet on Kim Jong-un? Try North Korea debt

Want to bet on Kim Jong-un? Try North Korea debt(Reuters) – The price of hard-to-find North Korean debt edged higher on Monday as some adventurous investors took a long-shot bet that the secretive country could open up after the death of Kim Jong-il.

Obscure North Korean debt certificates, tied to long-defaulted syndicated loans from the 1970s, traded in the market on Monday with a bid/ask spread around 14/18 cents on the dollar in London, up from a range of 13/15 cents last week, according to London-based Exotix Ltd, a specialist frontier market brokerage firm.

The death of Kim, 69, was announced on Monday and has brought forward the accession of his relatively untested son Kim Jong-un, thought to be in his twenties. Educated in Switzerland, the younger Kim is thought to speak English and German, and bears a striking resemblance to his grandfather, the North’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

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“A lot of the domestic attention is going to be on the funeral, the transition and securing the son’s transition. That succession, which the regime has been planning for years, is likely completed in the next few months so nothing happens, but investors will be thinking what comes next,” said Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at Exotix Ltd.

Link To Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/20/us-korea-north-debt-idUSTRE7BJ01920111220