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Consumer sentiment gains for 3rd month in March

Apartment complexes in Korea (Yonhap)
Apartment complexes in Korea (Yonhap)
South Korea's consumer sentiment rose for a third consecutive month in March, as exports showed signs of a modest recovery amid the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, central bank data showed Friday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came in at 100.5 for March, up 3.1 points from the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists.

The latest reading marks the third on-month gain following a drop in December last year, when the nation was logging about 1,000 daily new infections. This week, South Korea has reported about 400 daily new infections, although health authorities have warned against complacency.

The BOK said consumer sentiment improved as the nation's economy is expected to stage a modest recovery amid hopes for vaccinations.

Last month, South Korea eased social distancing rules as the third wave slowed down but kept a ban on gatherings of five or more people.

Stricter anti-coronavirus measures had battered self-employed small merchants, as well as the manufacturing and service industries.

The subindex for people's assessment of current economic conditions rose to 72 in March, up from 63 in February, while the index gauging people's sentiment toward future economic conditions reached 93 this month, up from 90 in February. (Yonhap)
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