South Korea’s business sentiment improved in February amid easing concerns over Europe’s debt crisis, the central bank said Monday.
The monthly business survey index (BSI), which gauges local manufacturers’ assessment of current business conditions, rose 2 points on-month to reach 80 in February, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The February figure came as worries about the European fiscal crisis eased following eurozone finance ministers’ approval of the second bailout plan for Greece, but the reading remained below the benchmark 100-point level, indicating that pessimists exceeded optimists, reports Xinhua.
The BSI for March, measuring manufacturers’ outlook on business conditions for the upcoming month, gained 3 points on-month to 84, staying below the 100-point mark.
Domestic manufacturers picked weak domestic demand, uncertain economic conditions and rising raw material prices as their difficulties in doing business. High oil prices emerged as a new risk factor for the South Korean economy as prices for Dubai crude, the country’s benchmark, moved above $100 per barrel this year.
The monthly index for non-manufacturers stayed unchanged at 78 in February, but the index for March rose 1 point on-month to 80. Local non-manufacturers regarded fragile domestic demand, fiercer competition and economic uncertainties as their hardship.
The BSI index was based on a nationwide survey of 1,623 manufacturers and 880 non-manufacturers, conducted between Feb 13 and 20.