Consumer sentiment improves for 4th month in May
Korea's consumer confidence improved for the fourth consecutive month in May on higher economic growth prospects and job market conditions, the central bank said Friday.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI), which gauges consumers' overall economic outlook, living conditions and future spending, stood at 105 for this month, compared with 104 tallied in April, according to a survey by the Bank of Korea (BOK). This is the highest CSI reading since February 2011.
A CSI reading above the benchmark 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists. The survey, based on a poll of 2,091 households in 56 cities nationwide, was conducted from May 11-18.
"The monthly sentiment index has been moving up on the strength of present economic conditions and future expectations, general rise in consumption and waning inflationary pressure," the BOK said.
The survey showed the expected inflation rate over the next 12 months dipping to 3.7 percent, lower than the previous month's estimate of 3.8 percent, according to the central bank. The numbers also mark the fourth straight time that the inflation expectation rate fell from the month before.
The country's consumer prices grew 2.5 percent on-year in April, down from 4 percent tallied for the whole of 2011, and 2.6 percent reported in March.
The BOK, meanwhile, left its key policy rate unchanged at 3.25 percent for the 11th straight month in May, in the face of persistent European debt concerns and the weak pace of domestic economic growth that is affecting recovery. (Yonhap)