Consumer sentiment at lowest level in eight years

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Consumer sentiment at lowest level in eight years

Korea’s overall consumer sentiment fell to the lowest point in nearly eight years this month, central bank data showed Tuesday, in the latest sign of a prolonged economic slowdown.

The composite consumer sentiment index for January came to 93.3, the lowest since March 2009 when it stood at 75, according to data from the Bank of Korea.

A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists.

The consumer sentiment index barely surpassed 100 in July and stayed there until October. However, due to restructuring in the shipping industry and unstable economic sentiment due to the possibility of an interest rake hike in the U.S., it fell in November. It dropped to as low as 94.1 in December.

“The index for current living conditions and current domestic economic conditions especially fell by large margin,” said an official at the BOK. “This means that people are thinking the economic conditions have worsened and also have been affected by recent price hikes of agricultural products.”

A separate index gauging sentiment toward the current economic conditions came to 51 for January, down from 55 in December.

Consumer sentiment toward employment slightly improved, with an index measuring sentiment toward job opportunities coming to 69 in January, up from 68 the previous month.

The BOK surveyed 2,039 households nationwide from Jan. 10 to 17.

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