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Consumer sentiment soars to 4-month high in June on eased virus concerns

SEOUL, June 26 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumer sentiment continued to rebound to a four-month high in June amid eased concerns over the new coronavirus, central bank data showed Friday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came to 81.8 in the month, up 4.2 points from a month earlier, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reading marks the highest since 96.9 posted in February. A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

Dozens of people shop at a traditional market in Seoul on May 26, 2020, in an apparent reflection of eased concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak. (Yonhap)

“The consumer sentiment index rose 4.2 points from the previous month in June as both indexes related to economic conditions and households’ financial conditions rose on active policy steps to minimize the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic while the spread of the new coronavirus remained weak,” the BOK said.

South Korea saw a slight surge in new coronavirus cases in June due to a number of cluster infections, but its daily new infections remained at around 50.

A series of government and monetary policy steps to help minimize the fallout from the coronavirus also boosted hopes for an economic recovery.

The local government is pushing for the third supplementary budget of the year, worth over 30 trillion won, which will bring to 270 trillion won the overall amount of its financial support for local businesses and households.

The BOK has also slashed its policy rate to a fresh record low of 0.50 percent to help support the economy.

A subindex measuring people’s sentiment toward the current economic conditions came to 44 in June, up sharply from 36 in May, according to the BOK.

The index on people’s sentiment toward their own economic conditions soared to 84 from 79 over the cited period.

The monthly index is based on a survey of 2,500 households throughout the nation, 2,368 of which answered this month, according to the BOK.

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