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South Korea Jan consumer sentiment snaps 3-month slide

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Consumer sentiment in South Korea improved for the first time in four months in January, while their inflation expectations remained at a record low, a central bank survey found on Tuesday.

[SEOUL] Consumer sentiment in South Korea improved for the first time in four months in January, while their inflation expectations remained at a record low, a central bank survey found on Tuesday.

The Bank of Korea said its consumer sentiment index, compiled from a survey across the country, ticked up to 102 in January from a revised 101 in December.

A reading above 100 indicates that consumers who expect economic conditions to improve in the coming months outnumber those expecting deterioration.

The survey also showed that the median expected inflation rate for the next 12 months among the surveyed held steady from December at a record low of 2.6 per cent.

The Bank of Korea surveyed more than 2,000 households between Jan 13 and 20.

The central bank's estimates showed on Friday that South Korea's economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter, hovering around its lowest pace in six years, which analysts said added more pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates further.

Recently, the Bank of Korea sharply downgraded its economic growth and inflation forecasts for 2015, but said that low inflation at present was due mainly to the plunge in oil prices.

REUTERS