South Korea’s consumer sentiment worsens to lowest in 11 years

SEOUL (Xinhua) – Sentiment among South Korean consumers over economic situations worsened to the lowest in more than 11 years on worry about the COVID-19 outbreak, central bank data showed yesterday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) stood at 70.8 in April, down 7.6 points from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It marked the lowest in over 11 years since the global financial crisis roiled the world economy in December 2008.

The index continued to decline this year from 104.2 in January to 96.9 in February and 78.4 in March each on worry about the coronavirus pandemic.

Consumers refrained from outside activities such as travelling, shopping and eating-out, hitting hard offline retailers.

Sub-indices lost ground. The CSI for current economic situations tumbled seven points over the month to 31 in April, while the figure for prospective economic conditions slipped three points to 59. Those indices were the lowest in over 11 years.

The index for future household income reduced four points to 83 for this month, and the reading for future consumer spending retreated six points to 87.

Inflation expectations, which gauge outlook among consumers for headline inflation for the next 12 months, stood unchanged at 1.7 per cent in April compared with the previous month.