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Consumer sentiment for under-40 still frosty

Consumer sentiment had generally improved in April, but it worsened for those under 40, a detailed index from the central bank indicated Wednesday.

The Bank of Korea said overall the consumer sentiment index for the month rose to 101.2 from 96.7 in the previous month. A reading above 100 means there are more optimists than pessimists.


However, a separate index for the under-40 age group measuring their sentiment on current economic conditions fell 1 percentage point from 94 in March. This contrasts with rises for those in their 40s (88 to 90), 50s (86 to 89), 60s (88 to 89) and 70+ (84 to 85).

On how they project their life conditions six months down the line, the index for the under-40 group dropped 1 percentage point to 99 while it climbed as much as 6 percentage points for other ages.

Sentiment measurements on future household income were 4 percentage points down from the previous month for the younger group at 101 compared to increases across the board for all other age groups. For people in their 60s, the index added 5 percentage points.

The gauge on spending stayed the same for those under 40 at 114, but it climbed for the rest of the groups, as much as 7 percentage points for people in their 50s.

"The younger generation appears to be more nervous than others about their future when the country's economic growth runs low," Lee Chang-sun at LG Economic Research Institute said. "They are seriously worried about whether they can save up enough assets to prepare for their elderly years."

March figures from Statistics Korea showed that the unemployment rate for youths aged 15-29 remained in double digits at 11.3 percent, despite having dropped 0.5 percentage points from a year ago. (Yonhap)