SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — Business sentiment in South Korea sank to a 22-month low for December amid flaccid domestic demand and worsening export conditions, a poll showed Tuesday.
The business survey index (BSI) of the nation’s top 600 firms by sales came to 88.7 for next month, down from 90.4 in November and the lowest level since 87.7 in February 2017, according to the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).
A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists, while a figure above the benchmark means the opposite.
The performance index for November came to 88.7, staying below the benchmark 100 for 43 months on end.
KERI attributed the pessimistic outlook for December to the country’s struggling major industrial sectors stemming from the overall economic sluggishness. The subindexes for the manufacturing and heavy-chemical sectors hit a 35-month low of 82.1 and 79.2, respectively.
The subindex for employment was just above the benchmark, coming in at 100.5. But subindexes measuring their sentiment toward domestic demand, exports, investment, financial conditions, profitability and inventory all remained below par.
KERI Vice President Song Won-geun said the car, shipbuilding, steel and other key manufacturing sectors have been struggling amid the spread of global protectionism and worsening domestic demand this year, calling for government countermeasures.
“The government should push for deregulation and come up with business-friendly measures to induce corporate investment as the manufacturing industry’s crisis is feared to deepen next year,” he said.