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CSI reading slips below 100 in May

Korean consumers’ sentiment over economic situation worsened to the lowest level in four months as the Sino-American trade war continues to negatively affect the country’s economy.

The Bank of Korea said May 28 that the composite consumer sentiment index (CSI) stood at 97.9 points in May, down 3.7 points from the previous month.

The CSI reading improved for five straight months to reach 101.6 points in April but slipped below 100 this month.

A CSI reading higher than 100 shows that optimists over the country’s economy during the next six months outnumber pessimists.

The central bank updates the data every month, which averaged just above 102 over the past year.

The monthly data reached an all-time high of 120.8 points in October 2009 while its lowest level was 68.5 points in December 2008 amid the global financial crisis.

The central bank surveyed 2,500 households across the nation between May 10 and 17. Among them, 2,343 responded.

And respondents demonstrated negative sentiments across the board.

Consumer sentiment regarding current living standards was 2 points down from April, at 91, and that concerning their future outlook was 3 points lower, at 92,” a Bank of Korea official said.

The CSI forecast for future household income was 2 points lower than in the previous month, at 97, and that regarding future household spending was 1 point lower, at 109.”

The official added that the CSI outlook for current domestic economic conditions was 5 points down from April, at 69, and that regarding future domestic economic conditions was 6 points lower, at 75.

The CSI indicator for expected inflation rate for the following year amounted to 2.2 percent.