South Korean manufacturers’ business sentiment drops to weakest in over 2 years

A shopkeeper waits for customers at traditional market in Seoul

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean manufacturers’ business sentiment for February weakened to the worst level in over two years, a central bank survey showed on Friday, hurt by heightened uncertainty over the economic outlook.

An index that measures the business outlook for the manufacturing sector dropped to 66 for February, on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 71 for January, according to the Bank of Korea’s survey of 3,255 companies, conducted during Jan. 10-17 nationwide. It was the lowest reading since October 2020.

In the survey, 26.5% of manufacturing firms cited uncertain economic conditions as a major difficulty, up from 22.0% a month before. The second biggest increase in worry was centred on weak domestic demand, with 12.4% firms citing it, up from 10.8%.


An index for the non-manufacturing sector fell to 72 from 76. It also marked the lowest level since December 2020.

The survey result follows data released on Thursday that showed the South Korean economy contracted for the first time in 2/1-2 years and faced a possibility that it was in recession.

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(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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