UPDATE : 2018.11.13 TUE 16:10
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S. Korea's consumer sentiment hits 17-month low in August

South Korea's consumer confidence plunged to a 17-month low in August due largely to a sluggish job market and inflation, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) for this month stood at 99.2, down 1.8 points from the previous month, according to the survey by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It is the third month in a row that the index has headed south and is the lowest number since March 2017, when the figure stood at 96.3. It is also the first time since then that the CCSI has dipped below the breakeven 100 point mark. A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

"Consumer confidence appears to get worse in August due to prevalent concerns over the economic slowdown, as the employment data was unsatisfactory and prices of everyday goods soared," the BOK said in a release. It said the ongoing trade frictions between the U.S. and China are another source of concern that affected how people viewed the state of the economy.

The bank then cited wobbly financial situations in some emerging economies and the subsequent bearish local stock market as reasons ordinary South Korean are worried.

Of the components that make up the CCSI, the index measuring people's sentiment regarding current economic conditions fell seven points to 70 in August, which is the lowest level since April 2017.

Their assessment of overall economic conditions for the next six months also slid to 82 from 87, the latest data showed.

The public, moreover, generally were not upbeat over the future job market, as the relevant index decreased to an 18-month low of 85, while the index showing their expectations for future housing prices surged 11 points to 109, the data showed.

The latest BOK monthly index is based on a survey of 1,937 households throughout the country and was conducted from Aug. 13-20. (yonhap)

Hillary Kang  edt@koreapost.com

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