South Korea's key consumer sentiment measure rose to its highest in nearly two years in May, adding to hopes for an early recovery in Asia's fourth-largest economy.
The Bank of Korea said in a statement its consumer sentiment index -- which measures sentiment in six categories -- jumped to 105 in May, up from 98 in April and the highest since touching 108 in the third quarter of 2007.
The central bank had released the data every quarter until the second quarter of 2008.
A reading above 100 indicates the most consumers are optimistic about economic conditions and their standards of living for the coming months.
The central bank held its policy interest rate steady at a record low of 2.0 percent for the third month in a row on May 12 after six reductions totaling 3.25 percentage points, citing signs the economy's decline has eased markedly.
But its governor, Lee Seong-tae, maintained a cautious view at a news conference at that time, saying the prospects for the export-dependent economy as well as the global economy remained highly uncertain.
More From CNBC.com
- Dr. Gloom: Forget Bernanke, Invest in Korea
- UN Unanimously Condemns North Korean Nuclear Tests
- Rio Sees China Demand Pick-Up, Defends Chinalco Deal
- More Asia Pacific News
The central bank next reviews the base rate, which applies to its 7-day repurchase agreements, on June 11.