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South Korean Manufacturers' Business Sentiment Improves For March

By February 27, 2017 at 10:48 pm
The business survey index (BSI) of manufacturing companies for March climbed to 81 from February’s reading of 76. (Photo : Getty Images)

Expectations for increased exports and domestic demand led to improved South Korean manufacturers' business sentiment for the month of March, according to central bank data released Tuesday.

The Bank of Korea's business survey index (BSI) of manufacturing companies for March climbed to 81 from February's reading of 76. The index came at 71 in January, according to the BOK.

A reading below 100 indicates the number of firms expecting deteriorating business conditions outnumber those that are optimistic.

An index measuring South Korean companies' sentiments toward exports rose to 92 for next month, compared to 90 in February. The same index stood at 87 for January.

Separately, an index for domestic sales reached 90 for March, an increase from 89 in the previous month. For the month of January, the index stood at 84.

South Korea's manufacturing sector contracted at a faster pace in January, as the manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) score fell to 49.0, according to data from Nikkei released in late January.

The score for the first month of the year is lower compared to December's reading of 49.4 and continues to be below the boom-or-bust level of 50 that separates contraction from expansion.

The pace of decline was even faster for both output and new orders, while input prices dropped at the sharpest rate in nearly six years. Staff numbers also fell in January, although the decline was minimal.

Tuesday's report also showed that the index measuring Korean companies' sentiments toward profitability rose to 88 in March, compared to 86 in February, the BOK data showed. In January, the index also posted a score of 86.

Meanwhile, the BSI of nonmanufacturing companies stood at 77 in March, up from 73 in February. The index had a score of 72 in January, the central bank said.

The monthly index is based on a poll of 2,884 firms throughout South Korea and was conducted from Feb. 14 to 21. 

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