This undated file photo shows apartment complexes in Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Korea's consumer sentiment improved in January as a third wave of coronavirus infections showed signs of slowing down amid hopes for vaccine rollouts, central bank data showed Wednesday.
The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came in at 95.4 for January, up 4.2 points from the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.
The latest reading marks the first on-month gain following a drop in December, when the nation saw about 1,000 daily new infections. This week, South Korea has reported about 400 daily new infections, although health authorities warned against complacency.
The BOK said consumer sentiment improved as new cases of coronavirus infections slowed down amid expectations for vaccinations.
South Korea has been applying Level 2.5 social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area, home to half of its 51.6 million population, and Level 2 rules in the rest of the country since Dec. 8 in a desperate bid to stem a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The anti-coronavirus measures have battered self-employed small merchants, as well as the manufacturing and service industries.
The subindex for people's assessment of current economic conditions was unchanged at 56 in January, while the index gauging people's sentiment toward future economic conditions reached 89 this month, up from 81 in December last year. (Yonhap)