black market

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black market,

the selling or buying of commodities at prices above the legal ceiling or beyond the amount allotted to a customer in countries that have placed restrictions on sales and prices. Such trading was common during World War II wherever the demand and the means of payment exceeded the available supply. Most of the warring countries attempted to equalize distribution of scarce commodities by rationing and price fixing. In the United States black-market transactions were carried on extensively in meat, sugar, tires, and gasoline. In Great Britain, where clothing and liquor were rationed, these were popular black-market commodities. In the United States, rationing terminated at the end of the war, but a black market in automobiles and building materials continued while the scarcity lasted. In the decades following World War II, as the countries of Eastern Europe were trying to industrialize their economies, extensive black-market operations developed because of a scarcity of consumer goods. Black marketing is also common in exchange of foreign for domestic currency, typically in those countries that have set the official exchange value of domestic currency too high in terms of the purchasing power of foreign money. Black-market money activities also grow when holders of domestic currency are anxious to convert it into foreign currency through a fear that the former is losing its purchasing power as a result of inflation. See also bootleggingbootlegging,
in the United States, the illegal distribution or production of liquor and other highly taxed goods. First practiced when liquor taxes were high, bootlegging was instrumental in defeating early attempts to regulate the liquor business by taxation.
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See W. Rundell, Black Market Money (1964).

black market

a. any system in which goods or currencies are sold and bought illegally, esp in violation of controls or rationing
b. (as modifier): black market lamb
2. the place where such a system operates
References in periodicals archive ?
He said the black-market value of the currency differed between regions and fluctuated hourly so it was nearly impossible to determine the real value of the pound on any given day.
The black-market traders did not know what the new governor had up his sleeve, so they began selling what they had in dollars for fear of sustaining losses," the trader said.
This rate is purportedly 2% lower than the black-market rate, though it currently (as of Oct.
Lee Wolosky, a former National Security Council official, calls black-market dealers a new and significant security threat.
Police have been told to crack down on black-market methadone after a 50 per cent surge in deaths from the heroin substitute.
In mid-October 1993, the black-market rate had fallen to S|pounds~360=$1, less than half the then official rate of S|pounds~171=$1.