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Consumer sentiment ticks up in March amid eased virus curbs

People wait in line to take COVID-19 tests at a makeshift testing center in front of Seoul Station in central Seoul on Saturday. South Korea reported 335,580 new COVID-19 infections that day, bringing the total caseload to 11,497,711, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. (Yonhap)
People wait in line to take COVID-19 tests at a makeshift testing center in front of Seoul Station in central Seoul on Saturday. South Korea reported 335,580 new COVID-19 infections that day, bringing the total caseload to 11,497,711, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. (Yonhap)

South Korea's consumer sentiment ticked up in March, as the country eased social distancing curbs to bolster spending and help pandemic-hit small merchants, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came to 103.2 in March, up 0.1 point from the previous month, according to data from the Bank of Korea.

A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists.

The index has been up and down in the last few months, affected by the severity of the spread of coronavirus and the government's measures on social distancing rules.

Early last week, the government eased the limit on private gatherings to eight people from the previous six while maintaining the 11 p.m. business curfew as part of efforts to help pandemic-hit small merchants.

South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 200,000 for the first time in 25 days Monday, and the government said the virus wave appears to have reached the peak last week.

Meanwhile, the subindex for people's assessment of current economic conditions came to 71, down from 75 in February, and the index gauging people's outlook for future economic conditions also dropped from 91 to 87, the data showed. (Yonhap)



By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldcorp.com)
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