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Manufacturers' sentiment for Nov. hits 9-month high amid eased virus curbs

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean manufacturers' business sentiment for November rose to a nine-month high as the economic outlook improved amid relaxed social distancing measures, central bank data showed Thursday.

The business sentiment index (BSI) for local manufacturers came to 76 for next month, up from 68 the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The outlook index marks the highest since February, when it reached 77.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists. The monthly poll was conducted on 3,255 companies between Oct. 14-21.

The BOK said manufacturers' business sentiment improved amid relaxed social distancing measures following a slowdown in new virus cases.

On Oct. 12, South Korea lowered the social distancing measures by one notch to Level 1, the lowest in its three-tier scheme, after applying tougher virus curbs across the nation for about two months since late August.

Despite the ups and downs, new virus cases have been largely on a downward trend after they stayed in the triple digits for more than a month since Aug. 14.

In August, the BOK trimmed its 2020 growth outlook to a sharper-than-expected contraction of 1.3 percent, citing the fallout of a flare-up in virus cases.

The index gauging manufacturers' assessment of current business conditions came in at 79 in October, up from 68 in September and the highest since June 2018.

The BSI for conglomerates came to 79 for November, up from 74 for October, while that of smaller companies reached 73, up from 61 for this month.

The business sentiment index among exporters for the next month came to 80, up from 75 for the current month, while that of domestically focused firms rose 10 points to 74.

Meanwhile, the BSI of non-manufacturing businesses came to 69 for November, up from 62 for this month, the central bank said.

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Source: Yonhap News (Oct 29, 2020)

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