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South Korean Consumers Turn Optimistic for First Time Since April

Jiyeun Lee
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South Korean Consumers Turn Optimistic for First Time Since April

(Bloomberg) -- Confidence among South Korean consumers improved for a third month and signaled optimism for the first time since April, as expectations for easing global trade tensions and an economic recovery buoyed sentiment, according to the Bank of Korea.

The data, released ahead of a BOK meeting Friday at which the bank is expected to stand pat, adds to recent signs the slump may be bottoming for an economy that’s been hit hard by a global tech slump and the U.S.-China trade war. Other signs include: a drop in semiconductor inventories, an improving forecast from Samsung Electronics and data last week showing exports may be headed for their smallest decline in seven months.

The BOK’s consumer sentiment index rose to 100.9 in November from 98.6 a month earlier, according to data released Wednesday. The index is based on a monthly survey of household views about income, spending and the economy. A reading above 100 signals optimism.

A gain in the index tracking people’s income outlook was the biggest contributor to the headline figure. Indexes measuring people’s views on the economy and living conditions also rose.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jiyeun Lee in Hong Kong at jlee1029@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Malcolm Scott at mscott23@bloomberg.net, Jason Clenfield, Dave McCombs

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