Consumer sentiment improves for 3rd month in April
Korea's consumer confidence improved for the third consecutive month in April on gains in production and market demand, and waning inflationary pressure, the central bank said Wednesday.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI), which gauges consumers' overall economic outlook, living conditions and future spending, stood at 104 for this month, compared with 101 tallied in March, according to a survey by the Bank of Korea (BOK).
A CSI reading above the benchmark 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists. The survey, based on a poll of 2,052 households in 56 cities nationwide, was conducted from April 12-18.
"The monthly sentiment index improved steadily in the past few months on the back of gains in industrial output, consumption and general stability in both consumer and producer prices," said a BOK official.
She also added that future trends will be determined by such factors as high oil prices, sluggish growth of the U.S. economy and persistent eurozone woes that can affect trade and investment.
The survey showed the expected inflation rate over the next 12 months dipping to 3.8 percent, lower than the previous month's estimate of 3.9 percent, according to the central bank. The numbers also mark the third straight time that the inflation expectation rate fell from the month before.
The country's consumer prices grew 2.6 percent on-year in March, down from 4 percent tallied for the whole of 2011, and 3.1 pct reported for February.
The BOK, meanwhile, left its key policy rate unchanged at 3.25 percent for the 10th straight month in April, as it maintained a wait-and-see stance to assess risks to inflation and growth in the midst of sluggish economic recovery. (Yonhap)