A majority of South Korean manufacturers predicted business to remain sluggish even in the fourth quarter of this year following volatile external economic conditions during the July-September period, a poll showed Monday.
The survey of 2,500 companies by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) showed Business Survey Index (BSI) at 94 for the October-December period, down 3 points from 97 for the third quarter.
The index gauges the manufacturers' forecast on their business conditions, and a reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.
The BSI has been below 100 since the third quarter of 2011.
"Manufacturers remain jittery that a slowdown in the Chinese economy and the weaker Japanese yen may set back the recovery of the South Korean economy," the KCCI said.
"The Fed hinting at tapering its bond-buying program is undermining the economy of emerging countries like India and Indonesia that have been playing a key role in the growth of the South Korean economy."
Of the respondents, 30.3 percent said that cash shortages will be the biggest hurdle to their fourth-quarter business, with 22.5 percent citing possible changes in the won-dollar exchange rate as another reason for the gloomy business outlook.
Most manufacturers forecast that the South Korean economy will turn for the better after the second half of 2014.