중앙데일리

Koreans Feel More Hopeful, But Only a Bit

Feb 18,2001
Consumer confidence seems to be recovering slightly in the first quarter as capital and stock markers regain some vitality.

But consumers said they felt the gap between rich and poor was wider than three years ago, the Samsung Economic Research Institute said in a report released Sunday.

The economic think tank released findings based on a telephone survey of 1,000 households earlier this month. According to the report, the consumer sentiment index recorded 43.1, a 1.9- point rise compared to the previous quarter, the first rebound after a year of declines.

"Real economic indicators such as industrial output, facility investment and wholesale and retail sales are still sluggish, but consumers seem to have somewhat higher expectations of an economic recovery as interest rates go down and stock markets regain some health," said Choi Sook-hee, who led the research project at the institute.

High-income and low-income Koreans have different perceptions.

The "present living standard index," which compares the current standard of living with that of the previous year, shows a wider gap between wealthy and less-affluent Koreans than existed in the second quarter of 1998, during the economic crisis.

The consumer sentiment index is based on factors such as consumers' economic conditions, purchases of durable goods and feelings on the overall economic situation.

An index number under 50 indicates pessimism about the near-term economic future.

hongsi@joongang.co.kr


by Hong Seung-il




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