April 28, 2020 / 9:00 PM / a month ago

S.Korea business outlook for May slides to record low on virus impact

SEOUL, April 29 (Reuters) - South Korea’s businesses confidence index slumped to the worst on record as the coronavirus pandemic put countries into lockdown, battering economic and social activities, a central bank survey showed.

The manufacturing BSI for May tumbled to a seasonally adjusted 45 from 52 for April, the Bank of Korea data published on Wednesday showed, the lowest reading of all time since the data was compiled in February 2003.

This was also far below 100, meaning the number of companies expecting business conditions to deteriorate outweighed those seeing an improvement

The non-manufacturing BSI, which covers the service sector, also fell to a seasonally adjusted 47 for May, which was also the lowest on record since the data began in February 2003, and from 52 for April.

The latest BSI was compiled from a survey of 3,180 corporate enterprises between April 13-21.

The virus outbreak pushed South Korea’s economy into its biggest contraction since 2008 in the first quarter, while consumers turned the most pessimistic in more than 11 years, separate central bank data showed.

A growing number of economists see Asia’s fourth-largest economy contracting for the whole of 2020, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now seeing a 1.2% contraction.

South Korea has recorded 10,752 virus infections and 244 deaths. (Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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