Business sentiment among South Korean manufacturers improved slightly for the second straight month in October, but their business outlook was still in the dumps amid lingering uncertainties over the economy.
The country’s business sentiment index (BSI) of manufacturing companies stood at 72 in October, up 1 point from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK) on Tuesday.
It is too early to say there is substantial improvement in the business sentiment, the BOK noted, citing the fact that the reading remained below 100, with pessimists still outnumbering optimists. The bank conducted the survey on 3,272 manufacturers from Oct. 14 to 21.
The business outlook for November also stayed bleak as the index slipped 1 point to 72. The year-end is a typical low season for the tech industry and the ongoing strikes from local automakers remain a pressing concern, the BOK explained.
Sluggish domestic demand was cited as the manufacturers` primary worry (25.3 percent), followed by global economic uncertainties (18.2 percent), weak exports (9.8 percent) and tight finances (7.6 percent).
Exports at Asia’s fourth-largest economy are poised for an 11th straight month of decline in October amid the protracted slump in global chip demand.
The economic sentiment index (ESI), a composite of the BSI and consumer sentiment index, fell 0.7 point on month to 90.6 in October. Even when adjusted for seasonal fluctuations, the index was down 0.1 point at 90.6, a level not seen since May 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.
By Kim Jin-sol and Kim Hyo-jin
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