South Korea: Consumer confidence edges down
The index came in at 109.9 points, down from December’s revised 110.6 points (previously reported: 110.9 points). Nevertheless, consumer confidence remained comfortably above the 100-point threshold that separates optimism from pessimism among Korean households.
Although remaining close to November’s seven-year high, the January reading was dragged down by consumers’ increased pessimism regarding current and prospective domestic economic conditions.
Prospective employment opportunities deteriorated in January, whereas sentiment regarding future wages, prices, and housing prices were all more upbeat than in December.
This drop in consumers’ confidence in January occurred despite a relative warming of diplomatic relations between North and South Korea, with the two countries forming a joint hockey team at the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect private consumption to expand 2.5% in 2018, which is up 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2019, the panel sees private consumption growth at 2.6%. ■