South Korea's business sentiment continued to worsen this month due to lingering concerns over external uncertainties such as Europe's debt problems and the possible U.S. fiscal cliff, data by the central bank showed Monday.
The monthly business survey index (BSI), which gauges local manufacturers' assessment on current business conditions, stood at 68 in October, down 1 point from a month earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The seasonally-adjusted figure stayed at a low level of 69 for this month.
The BSI for November, measuring manufacturers'outlook on business conditions for the upcoming month, slid 2 points to 70, marking the identical number for August. The reading adjusted with seasonal factors retreated rose 2 points to 72 over the same period.
Local manufactures listed uncertain economic conditions, weak domestic demand and export slump as major difficulties in doing business.
Business conditions continued to aggravate amid external uncertainties such as the European fiscal crisis and the potential U.S. fiscal cliff. South Korea's real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.2 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter, the lowest growth in around three years.
Reflecting dimmer economic outlook, the BOK slashed earlier this month its 2012 economic growth outlook for the country to 2.4 percent from an earlier estimate of 3 percent. The central bank cut its policy rate by 25 basis points (bps) to 2.75 percent at the October rate-setting meeting.
The monthly index for non-manufacturers rose 1 point on-month to 67 in October, but the index for November remained at the low level of 67, according to the BOK. Seasonally-adjusted figures for October and November recorded 67 each, unchanged from the previous month.
Non-manufacturers picked fragile domestic demand, economic uncertainties and fierce competition as their hardship.
The BSI index is based on a nationwide survey of 1,456 manufacturers and 1,066 non-manufacturers, conducted between Oct. 15 and 22.
Meanwhile, the economic sentiment index (ESI), which reflects both the consumer sentiment index (CSI) and the BSI, declined 2 points on-month to 87 in October.
The BOK started compiling the ESI from June in a bid to offer comprehensive sentiment of the private sector, including consumers and businesses.
The reading below 100 means the private sector's sentiment over the current economic conditions is weaker than the long-term average sentiment in the past.