South Korean Consumer Confidence Recovers in March

The Bank of Korea (BOK) said today that consumer confidence in South Korea rebounded in March after the government eased social distancing measures to boost spending and support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

According to the BOK, the Consumer Confidence Index (CCSI) for March was 103.2, up slightly from 103.1 in February. The number of those who assess the economic outlook positively outweighs those who assess it negatively.

South Korea’s consumer confidence index has been volatile in recent months. It has been affected by the severe COVID-19 epidemic and the government’s social distancing measures.

Early last week, however, the South Korean government eased restrictions on gatherings from six to eight people and extended a curfew for businesses to 11 p.m. in an effort to help affected small businesses.

In addition, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy announced today that retail sales in South Korea increased by 4.7% year-on-year in February. This was due to the increasing demand for online products.

Sales of 25 major offline and online retailers rose to 12.19 trillion won ($9.99 billion) in February, up from 11.6 trillion won in the same month last year.

Sales of goods via online platforms increased by 14.2% year-on-year in February. Sales in offline retail fell by 3.8% in the same month.

For offline retailers, department stores increase sales by 9.3% due to rising demand for luxury goods

Convenience store sales increased 7.4% due to strong demand for small packaged foods and new products.

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