Seoul, March 27 (IANS) South Korea's consumer confidence rose for two straight months in March due to a rally in local stocks and steady improvement in exports, the central bank said Tuesday.
The consumer sentiment index (CSI), which gauges consumers' overall economic outlook, stood at 101 in March, up 1 point from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The CSI is based on survey response from 2,084 households in 56 cities conducted between March 13 and 20. The reading above 100 means optimists outnumbered pessimists.
The March rise was mainly attributed to a continued upward trend of local stocks and steady enhancement of exports, which account for more than half of the Asia's No. 4 economy, reported Xinhua.
"The upward trend in the local stock market and steady growth of exports were reflected in consumer confidence. But, it remains to be seen whether the sentiment among consumers would continue to improve due to lingering external uncertainties such as Europe's fiscal crisis," said an official at the BOK.
South Korean consumers' expectation for inflation fell slightly, but stayed at a high level. Inflation expectation over the next 12 months came in at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in March, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous month.
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