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Consumer sentiment plunges to over 2-year low in August

All Headlines 06:00 August 27, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's consumer sentiment reached the lowest level in more than two years in August, central bank data showed Tuesday, amid growing concerns that the nation's economy could further lose growth momentum over protracted trade tensions.

The composite consumer sentiment index came to 92.5 this month, down 3.4 points from a month earlier, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reading marks the lowest since January 2017, when the index stood at 92.4. A reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

Global growth outlook darkened over an escalating trade war between the United States and China, South Korea's two largest trading partners.

Consumer sentiment plunges to over 2-year low in August - 1

U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington would increase tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese goods to 30 percent from 25 percent, responding to China's announcement of new tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Japan's export curbs against South Korea, in apparent retaliation against Seoul over wartime forced labor, also weighed on the Korean economy.

Last month, the BOK slashed its growth outlook to 2.2 percent from the 2.5 percent forecast three months earlier, citing a number of economic headwinds facing South Korea, including the U.S.-China trade dispute and Japan's export curbs.

In the monthly survey, those surveyed saw a decline in their living conditions as the index measuring their sentiment toward their own economic conditions fell to 90, down 1 point from a month earlier.

Also, the index measuring the respondents' outlook on conditions facing Asia's fourth-largest economy dropped to 63 in August, marking the lowest level since December 2016.

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