South Korea’s business skepticism slightly eased in December thanks to improved sentiment in the non-manufacturing sector, according to data released by the central bank on Tuesday.
The business survey index (BSI) of the overall industry for December added 2 points from the previous month to 76, data released by the Bank of Korea showed.
The figure has improved for the fourth month in a row but is still far below 100, meaning that businesses are more pessimistic about the country’s economy than positive amid lingering uncertainties on the external front and little signs of improvement in home demand.
The business sentiment for the overall non-manufacturing sector climbed 3 points to 78. The index for construction firms increased 8 points to 74 on rising orders from the public sector, and the transportation and warehousing industry also up 7 points to 83 thanks to brisk demand for delivery in the year-end.
The BSI for the overall manufacturing sector, however, remained unchanged at 74.
The index for automakers jumped 8 points to 80, and metalworkers up 4 points to 67. That for electronics makers, visual and communications equipment makers fell 2 points to 79.
Display manufacturers, in particular, were negative about the business outlook, but chipmakers showed an improvement in both their business and the outlook, the BOK said.
By size, the BSI of large manufacturers gained 2 points to 80, while that of small- and mid-sized companies lost 1 point to 68. By business type, the index for export-oriented companies rose 2 points to 80, but that for domestic demand-led firms was off 1 point to 70.
For the next month, the BSI index rose 1 point to 74. The outlook of manufacturers added 2 points to 73, and non-manufacturers 1 point to 75.
The economic sentiment indicator (ESI), which combines the BSI and the consumer sentiment index, added 0.9 point at 92.4 in December. Even when adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, the index was up 0.3 point at 91.9.
By Lee Ha-yeon
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