Consumer sentiment takes a hit in October

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Consumer sentiment takes a hit in October

Korea’s consumer sentiment fell slightly to below the break-even point of 100 in October as rising oil prices and sliding stock prices hurt people’s confidence in the future, a central bank poll showed Friday.

Based on a new set of household samples, the composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) for the month stood at 99.5, down 0.7 point from the previous month, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

In August, based on the old sampling, the index touched a 17-month low of 99.2, the BOK added.

The consumer sentiment index has been on a steady decline since it hit a seven-year high of 112.3 in November last year.

“People are worried about their decreasing income and increasing costs due to a rapid rise in oil prices and a sharp drop in stocks,” the BOK said.

Of the components that make up the CCSI, the index measuring people’s sentiment regarding current economic conditions rose 3 points to 67 in October, while their assessment of overall economic conditions for the next six months remained at 7.

Starting October, meanwhile, the BOK said it changed which households are subject to the CCSI survey in accordance with the national census conducted every five years.

“We fine-tuned the percentages of age groups on our survey interviewee list as the country’s demographic changed at the 2015 census,” said the BOK. “As a result, the exact level of the index changed, but the overall trend of consumer confidence seems not to be affected.”

The latest BOK monthly index is based on a survey of 2,203 households throughout the country and was conducted from Oct. 11-18.

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