S. Korean manufacturers’ business sentiment weakens to 5-month low for Sept

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean manufacturers’ business sentiment for September weakened to the lowest level in five months on growing worries about weak exports, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday.

The business outlook index for the manufacturing sector fell to 67 for September from 71 in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Bank of Korea’s monthly survey of companies.

The index marked its lowest reading since April and the biggest monthly drop since February.

In the survey, 19.1% of manufacturers cited uncertain economic conditions as a major difficulty, down from 23.5% the month before, while 16.8% cited weak domestic demand, up from 16.1%, and those citing weak exports jumped to 16.2% from 12.4%.

“After China’s reopening, exports did not improve as they had been expected due to intensified competition with China and a weaker recovery of its demand, raising worries about uncertain economic conditions,” a BOK official said at a media briefing.

South Korea’s exports for the first 20 days of August fell 16.5% from the same period the year before, data showed earlier this week, on track to extend their downturn to an 11th consecutive month.

The index for the non-manufacturing sector fell to 76 from 77, marking its lowest since June, the survey also showed.

(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Rashmi Aich)