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Optimism among South Korean consumers hits a 3-year high in May
[SEOUL] South Korean consumers turned more optimistic in May than they have been for more than three years, a central bank survey showed on Friday, after the new president made job creation the priority and announced plans for a stimulus budget.
The Bank of Korea's composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) stood at 108.0 in May, improving for a fourth straight month and reaching the highest level since 108.4 in April 2014.
In April 2017, the index was 101.2, barely above 100, the level that demarcates optimism and pessimism.
The May sub-indices showed the outlook for job opportunities improved to 113 from 86 in April, while that for the economic outlook over the next six months shot up to 111 from 89 the previous month.
The survey comes after South Koreans on May 9 elected liberal Moon Jae-in as president. Mr Moon, who was sworn in the next day, announced plans to add 500,000 jobs a year during his single five-year term.
On Thursday, Mr Moon ordered officials to quickly draft a supplementary budget for job creation, so that it could be approved by the National Assembly in June.
The BOK survey also found that the median expectation for the inflation rate over the next 12 months inched down to 2.5 per cent in May from 2.6 per cent in April.
The central bank's current inflation target for 2017 is 2.0 per cent.