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Manufacturers' sentiment sharply improves for Feb.

All News 06:00 January 30, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- The business sentiment of South Korean manufacturers greatly improved for the upcoming month, central bank data showed Thursday, amid signs of a rebound in exports.

The business sentiment index (BSI) of manufacturing companies here came to 77 for February, up from 73 for this month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

A reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

Still, the rise in the index marks the steepest on-month increase in 11 months since March 2019, when the index gained 11 points from a month earlier.

Also the index for February marks the highest since May, the central bank said.

The file photo, taken Nov. 1, 2019, shows rows of export containers stacked at South Korea's largest seaport in Busan, located some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul. South Korea's exports have dropped for 13 consecutive months as of December 2019. (Yonhap)

"The BSI on future outlook rose as the outlook of the electronics-telecommunications; machinery-equipment; and chemical materials and products sectors improved," the BOK said.

The indices of both export firms and domestic-focused businesses improved from a month earlier, it added.

South Korea's exports have dipped for 13 consecutive months since December 2018, tumbling 10.3 percent on-year to US$542.4 billion in 2019.

However, outbound shipments in the first 20 days of January slipped only 0.2 percent from the same period last year, signaling a possible recovery in overseas demand.

The finance ministry said earlier it expects the country's exports to rise 3 percent on-year in 2020.

Meanwhile, the BSI for all industries came to 76 for February, up from 74 for this month.

The BSI of non-manufacturing firms, including the service industry, slipped to 74 from 75 over the cited period.


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