The Korean government's efforts to shore up economic sentiment are bearing fruit.
The Bank of Korea says the consumer sentiment index stood at 107 in August, up two points from a month earlier.
The figure marks a rebound from July, suggesting that Korean consumers might be returning to their spending habits that were dented after April's ferry disaster.
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 central bank says the improvement was spurred by a widely-expected rate cut this month and government stimulus measures that were instituted by finance minister Choi Kyung-hwan's new economic team.
While indications are that consumer sentiment is improving, the August figure is still below the level posted before the ferry tragedy.
"A new survey we conducted shows that more than half of the firms surveyed expect the negative impact of the ferry tragedy to last through next month. Those who think it will last for more than two or three months made up more than 30 percent."
( 8 50 . 2-3 9 10 11 30 .)
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.
"Although the economy is not running in full steam for now, expectations are high that there will be a pick-up in private spending with one of the nation's biggest holidays Chuseok right around the corner.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News."
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