Asia Economy

South Korea December Consumer Sentiment Index Steady From November

Namdaemun Market in Seoul, Korea
DAJ | Amana Images | Getty Images

South Korea's key consumer sentiment index held steady in December from November and stood below the neutral point for a fifth consecutive month, the central bank said on Wednesday, dashing hopes of a quick economic rebound.

The consumer sentiment index compiled from the Bank of Korea's monthly survey stood at 99 in December, the central bank said in a statement, unchanged from November and below the neutral point of 100 for the fifth month in a row.

The central bank also said the median expected inflation rate for the next 12 months, compiled from the same survey, edged down to an annual rate of 3.2 percent in December from 3.3 percent in November.

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This marked the lowest reading since November 2010 but was still well above the latest actual consumer inflation rate of 1.6 percent set in November.

The latest findings suggest the South Korean economy is likely to struggle further as the uncertain global outlook and heavy household debt weigh on domestic demand while exports are also depressed.

Asia's fourth-largest economy grew by just 0.1 percent during the July-September period compared with the previous quarter, and policymakers do not expect a firm recovery to start until late 2013.

Analysts have said that the ruling party, whose candidate Park Geun-hye won last week's presidential election, would probably draw up fiscal stimulus measures before Park takes office in late February.