South Korea's business sentiment fell for August due to deteriorating profitability in the restaurant, accommodation and service industries amid the extended coronavirus pandemic, a local think tank said Thursday.
The business survey index (BSI) of the country's top 600 companies by sales fell to 95.2 for next month, down 7.1 points from July, the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) said in a statement.
The business outlook fell below 100 for the first time in five months. The BSI had stayed above 100 since March when the index exceeded 100 for the first time in 34 months.
A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists, while a figure below the benchmark means the opposite.
"Rising raw materials prices and a recent surge in COVID-19 cases are weighing on business sentiment. Higher inoculation rates appear to be needed to support the economy," KERI said.
KERI said 357 out of the 600 companies responded to the survey, which was taken from July 15-22. (Yonhap)