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South Korea's consumer confidence improves in 4 months

Staff writer |
Confidence among South Korean consumers over economic situations improved for the first time in four months in March thanks to stable financial market conditions, central bank data showed.

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Composite Consumer Sentiment Index (CCSI) stood at 100 in March, up two points from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The index continued to fall from 105 in November to 98 in February, before rebounding in March. The reading above 100 means optimists outnumbered pessimists.

The rebound came as geopolitical risks on the Korean peninsula eased this month and the local stock market showed a stable picture.

South Korea's financial market was rattled in January and February on global market turmoil and rising geopolitical risks on the peninsula caused by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

Foreigners returned back to the local stock market in March and global crude oil prices turned upward, boosting consumer confidence.

Sub-indices showed a brighter picture. The index for prospective economic conditions over the next six months increased seven points from a month earlier to 82 in March. Current economic conditions index rose four points to 69, with the employment outlook index inching up one point to 79.

Consumer price inflation, which gauges outlook for headline inflation over the next 12 months, came in at 2.5 percent in March, staying in the level for eight straight months.

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