Consumer sentiment index hits 7-month high

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Consumer sentiment index hits 7-month high

Consumers are suddenly more optimistic, with the composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) breaking 100 and hitting a seven-month high.

The Bank of Korea reported on Wednesday that the CCSI registered 100.9 in November, up 2.3 points from the month before, as progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations and a rebound in stock markets boosted prospects.

A reading above 100 indicates that a majority of survey participants have a positive outlook on the national economy, while a reading below 100 indicates that most have negative views.

The latest result marked the first reading above 100 since May.

In recent months, the sentiment fell as consumer prices and anticipated inflation hit all-time lows due to weak demand and the decline of oil and agricultural prices.

The index measuring sentiment toward current living conditions remained unchanged in November on-month at 92, but the index on the outlook on future conditions gained 2 points to 95 over the cited period, according to the data.

Those surveyed expect future improvements in their income, with the index gauging the outlook on future income climbing to 99 from 97 over the cited period.

Such improvements in the sentiment come despite a steady decline in the country’s exports, which is threatening to keep Asia’s fourth-largest economy growing at the slowest rate in 10 years.

The central bank in July predicted the Korean economy will grow 2.2 percent on-year in 2019. However, it has since indicated a further revision may be coming in the final growth estimate of the year, due Friday, when the bank also decides key interest rates.

The monthly survey was conducted between Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 and involved 2,350 households.

BY PARK EUN-JEE, YONHAP [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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