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Korea’s manufacturers downbeat about Q1 biz: poll

Korea’s manufacturers downbeat about Q1 biz: poll

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Published : 2013-12-26 09:30
Updated : 2013-12-26 09:30

A majority of South Korean manufacturers predicted bearish business conditions for the first three months of 2014 due to a bleak outlook for economic recovery, a poll showed Thursday.

The survey of 2,500 companies by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) showed the Business Survey Index (BSI) at 92 for the January-March period, down 2 points from 94 tallied three months earlier.

The index gauges manufacturer sentiment, and a reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists. The BSI has been below 100 since the third quarter of 2011.

“Although major institutions from home and abroad forecast that South Korea’s economy will grow 3 percent on-year in 2014, local firms are less confident about the recovery,” the KCCI said.

The KCCI said tapering of U.S. quantitative easing, Seoul’s latest revised wage guidelines and other major economic changes from home and abroad are expected to weigh down on local firms. It added that the government should provide them with more leeway through policy changes.

South Korea’s top court said last week that regular bonuses should count as part of ordinary wages that serve as the basis for other allowances, a groundbreaking ruling that is feared to impose a greater financial burden on local enterprises.

Of the respondents, 29.1 percent said that cash shortages will be the biggest challenge, with 21.4 percent citing possible changes in the won-dollar exchange rate as a reason for the gloomy business outlook.

Around 45 percent of manufacturers polled forecast that the South Korean economy will turn for the better in the second half of 2014, while 38.9 percent predicted the recovery will start later than 2015. (Yonhap News)

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