Business confidence in South Korea remains gloomy

Seoul, Oct 5 (IANS) Confidence among South Korean businesses remain gloomy amid concerns about the expected interest rate hike in the US, an industry lobby group poll showed on Monday.

The Business Sentiment Index (BSI) for the fourth quarter fell one point from the third quarter to 87, according to a Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey of about 2,300 manufacturers, Xinhua reported.

The reading below 100 means pessimist outnumbered optimists.

The figure tumbled from 97 in the second quarter to 88 in the third quarter after the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that peaked in June and July and dampened the domestic demand.

Outlook among manufacturers over the fourth quarter’s business conditions remained gloomy on the expected US rate hike within this year.

By region, the resort island of Jeju showed a rosy picture as Chinese tourists came back to the country for travel as fears over the MERS outbreak subsided.

The BSI for the fourth quarter in Jeju Island surged to 132 from 90 in the third quarter.

The BSI for exporters declined two points from the previous quarter to 89 in the fourth quarter, with the figure for domestic demand-focused companies being unchanged at 87.

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