South Korea's consumer confidence falls
Seoul, July 25 (IANS) South Korea's consumer confidence fell in July due to lingering uncertainties at home and abroad, the central bank said Wednesday.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI), which gauges consumers' overall economic outlook, stood at 100 in July, down 1 point from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK), reported Xinhua.
The figure declined for two straight months after retreating for the first time in five months in June. The reading 100 means optimists equal to pessimists. The CSI is based on survey response from 2,050 households in 56 cities conducted between July 11 and 18.
It was mainly attributed to rising concerns over Europe's debt crisis. The 10-year Spanish government bond yields spiked to a new euro-era high of 7.5 percent, a level that many analysts fear could shut Spain out of public markets and eventually lead to a full-scale bailout.
Worries about the European fiscal crisis led Seoul to cut its 2012 growth outlook for the Asia's No.4 economy. The BOK lowered its benchmark policy rate by 25 basis points to 3 percent at the July rate-setting meeting, the first change of the rate in 13 months.
All sub-indices showed a dimmer picture. Consumer sentiment on living standards was down 1 point on-month to 87, with that on prospective living conditions sliding 2 points to 93.
In July, consumer sentiment on current economic conditions declined 3 points to 71 over the cited period, but that on future economic conditions stayed unchanged at 81.
Consumer sentiment on prospective income and spending remained steady at 95 and 106 respectively last month.
South Korean consumers' expectation for inflation resumed its downward trend after being unchanged in the prior month. Inflation expectation over the next 12 months came in at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in July, down 0.1 percentage point from a month before.
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