Korea's consumer sentiment worsens in JulyUpdated: 2014-07-25 22:06:52 (KST)
This department store located in the heart of the capital Seoul seems to be bustling with people as usual.
But a salesclerk says that's only because it's the weekend.
"I feel like the number of customers dropped recently. And most of our customers during weekdays are tourists, not locals."
Reflecting that, the Bank of Korea said Friday the nation's consumer sentiment index stood at 105 in July, down 2 points from a month earlier.
The figure had rebounded in June, suggesting that Korean consumers might be returning to their spending habits, which changed after April's ferry tragedy.
The index hovered at around the 108 level in the first four months of this year, but dropped to 105 in May following the disaster.
The figure returned to that level this month, and experts say that reflects the nation's still sluggish domestic demand.
"Although the index did improve in June, the numbers show that the economy's overall domestic demand is not recovering to the pre-April disaster level."
Experts add that this month's consumer sentiment was also affected by the central bank's recent cut of its growth forecast for this year.
The monthly index is a gauge of the overall economic outlook of consumers, their living conditions and future spending plans.
A reading over one-hundred means optimists outnumber pessimists.
A recent poll by Nielsen also showed that Korea's consumer sentiment is near the bottom among 60 countries worldwide.
"And the figures indicate a bumpy road ahead for President Park Geun-hye's new economic team and their attempts to pull the economy out of a low-growth rut by boosting domestic demand.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News."
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