South Korea’s consumer sentiment weakens over COVID-19 resurgence

SEOUL (XINHUA) – Sentiment among South Korean consumers over economic situation weakened this month on worry about the COVID-19 resurgence in the country, central bank data showed yesterday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) stood at 89.8 in December, down 8.1 points from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It came as the government tightened its five-tier social-distancing guidelines to the second-highest level this month to contain the pandemic.

In the latest tally, the country reported 1,046 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, raising the combined infections to 58,725. The daily caseload rose above 1,000 in three days, staying above 100 for 52 days since November 8.

The CCSI for current economic situations tumbled 16 points in December from a month earlier, with the prospective index for future economic conditions skidding 10 points.

The reading for future home prices added two points over the month to 132 in December, keeping a record-breaking trend for two straight months amid the record-low policy rate.

The BOK cut its target rate by 25 basis points to an all-time low of 0.50 per cent in May after slashing it by 50 basis points in March.

An outdoor shopping street remains vacant amid fears of the coronavirus in Seoul, South Korea. PHOTO: AP