Korean Manufacturers' Feeling Optimistic
By Bomi Lim
(Bloomberg) — South Korean manufacturers' confidence rose for the first time in three months after the government raised its economic-growth forecast for Asia's fourth-biggest economy.
An index measuring expectations for January climbed to 90 from 85 a month earlier, according to a survey of 1,488 manufacturers released by the Bank of Korea today in Seoul. A measure of non-manufacturing companies' expectations was unchanged at 84 for the third straight month.
The economy will expand about 5 percent in 2010 after growing 0.2 percent this year, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said this month, raising its forecasts. The country posted a current-account surplus for a 10th month in November, the central bank said yesterday.
South Korea's economy expanded 3.2 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in seven years, boosted by exports and local spending. Overseas shipments will increase 9.3 percent in 2010, after declining 0.1 percent this year, the Bank of Korea said on Dec. 11.
The won touched 1,165.97 per dollar in Seoul today, the strongest since Dec. 17.
Today's report showed an index measuring the outlook for exports gained to 104 from 98 a month ago, and a gauge for the domestic sales outlook in January rose to 100 from 98.
The Bank of Korea surveyed the manufacturers and 802 non-manufacturers between Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bomi Lim in Seoul at email@example.com.