Korea Consumer Confidence Strengthens for First Time Since June
(Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s consumer confidence rose in September to end a two-month slide, suggesting consumers are putting the latest virus outbreak behind them as the economy continues to recover.
The consumer sentiment index rose to 103.8 from 102.5 in August, the Bank of Korea said Tuesday. The gauge fell in the past two months as the nation went through a surge in infections and tighter social distancing rules, but has remained above the 100-threshold that separates optimism from pessimism.
While the outbreak is showing no signs of abating -- hitting a fresh daily record last week -- a rapid rise in the vaccination rate has allowed consumers to take the virus more in stride. Exports have also rallied this year, providing a key support to the trade-dependent economy.
Among the components of the headline sentiment index, households’ spending outlook contributed the most to the gains, likely supported by the government’s emergency handouts starting this month to more than 80% of the population.
An index measuring consumers’ outlook for interest rates rose to 134, the highest since 2018, as more people expected rates to go up than down. Households’ inflation expectations for the next 12 months were steady at 2.4%.
The survey of 2,304 households was conducted Sept. 9-16.
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