South Korea's consumer sentiment dropped slightly from a month earlier to a five-month low in June, central bank data showed Tuesday, amid fears of an economic slowdown sparked by sluggish exports and a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
The composite consumer sentiment index came to 97.5 for the month, down 0.4 from the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
A reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists. The reading is the lowest since January, when the index also stood at 97.5.
The drop apparently follows the escalating trade tension between the United States and China that many believe may last months if not years. The two countries are also the world's two largest importers of South Korean goods.
South Korea's exports have dipped for six consecutive months, with shipments to China falling for seven consecutive months since November. The country's exports again plunged 10 percent on-year in the first 20 days of this month, according to related data released earlier by the customs office.
Those surveyed saw no changes in their current living conditions from a month earlier or six months from now, according to the BOK.
However, more people saw their spending shrinking down the road, with the index measuring their sentiment on consumption slipping to 108 in June from 109 a month earlier.
A separate index measuring the respondents' outlook on interest earnings dropped to 100 from 109 over the cited period.
The central bank is widely expected to slash its policy rate down the road to help revitalize Asia's fourth-largest economy, which unexpectedly contracted 0.4 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier.
The monthly survey was conducted from June 10-17 and involved 2,330 households throughout the nation.(Yonhap)