South Korean manufacturers' business sentiment continued to worsen for the upcoming month, central bank data showed Thursday, amid a steady decline in exports and sluggish demands at home that are apparently reflected in record low inflation.
The business sentiment index (BSI) of manufacturing firms here came to 71 for December, down from 72 for this month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The reading marks the second consecutive month of drop. A reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.
The BSI of manufacturers has remained below the 80-point threshold throughout the year amid a sharp decline in exports.
The country's exports have dipped for 11 consecutive months since December, plunging 14.7 percent from a year earlier to US$46.78 billion in October alone.
Consumer prices have also been growing at record low levels, especially in recent months before hitting the all-time low of negative 0.4 percent on-year growth in September.
Local manufacturers anticipated a slight improvement in their sales next month, with their related BSI coming to 80, up from 78 for November.
Still, they expected a continued drop in their outbound shipments, with the BSI for exports coming to 82 for December, compared with 84 for this month.
The BSI for all industrial sectors, including the service industry, came to 73, up from 72 for November, as the BSI of non-manufacturing industries gained 2 points to 74 for the cited period.
The BSI of large companies came to 76, sharply down from 80 for this month, while that of smaller firms climbed to 66 from 65 over the cited period.
The monthly report is based on a survey of 3,233 local companies, including 1,970 manufacturers, conducted from Nov. 13-20.(Yonhap)