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Smaller firms' confidence edges up for June but stays below par: poll

According to Yonhap News,

SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean smaller firms' sentiment inched up for June on state efforts to backstop consumer spending but remained well below par, a poll showed Thursday.

The survey of 3,150 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) showed that the small business health index (SBHI) stood at 63.1 for the coming month, up 3.1 points from May's record low.

Yet the index was down 22.9 points from a year earlier. It rebounded after going south for five months on end amid growing uncertainties both at home and abroad, including the coronavirus pandemic.

A reading below 100 indicates pessimists outnumber optimists. The survey was taken by the Korea Federation of SMEs.

The federation said the index got a boost from improved consumer sentiment thanks to the government's provision of cash grants to all citizens to help shore up the virus-hit economy.

Earlier this month, the government began providing relief handouts of up to 1 million won (US$805) to every household to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The SBHI for the non-manufacturing sector came to 62.4 for June, up 4.9 points from May, while that for the manufacturing sector fell 0.4 points to 64.4.

Their capacity utilization rate averaged 66.8 percent in April, down 3 points from March and 7.1 points from a year earlier. It was the lowest level since 65.5 in March 2009.

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Source: Yonhap News (May 28, 2020)

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