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S. Korea's consumer sentiment sharply improves for Jan.


South Korea's consumer sentiment improved sharply from a month earlier in January, central bank data showed Wednesday, amid outlooks that the country's economic conditions will improve down the road.

The composite consumer sentiment index came to 104.2 for the month, up from 100.5 for the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea.

The reading marks the highest since June 2018, as well as the largest on-month gain since September 2019, when the index jumped 4.6 points from a month earlier but still fell short of the benchmark 100 at 97.0.

A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists, while a reading below the benchmark means the opposite.

Local consumers apparently saw future improvements in conditions for their own livelihoods and the country's economy.

The index measuring their sentiment toward their current economic conditions came to 93 in January, up 1 point from a month earlier.

The index on their livelihood in the future, on the other hand, jumped 3 points to 97, with the index on their outlook for their future income also adding 3 points from a month earlier to 101.

The index for their sentiment toward current economic conditions came to 78, up 4 points from a month earlier. The index for their outlook on economic conditions six months from now came to 87, compared with 82 registered in December, according to the BOK.

The central bank has forecast the local economy to grow 2.3 percent this year, accelerating from last year's 2 percent expansion in 2019 that marked the slowest on-year growth in a decade. (Yonhap)