​Manufacturing confidence improves for March, raising hope for economic rebound

By Park Yoon-bae Posted : February 20, 2023, 16:22 Updated : February 21, 2023, 08:10

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SEOUL -- South Korea's manufacturing confidence for March improved for the fourth straight month, raising hope for a rebound in both exports and domestic demand, a survey by the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade (KIET) said February 20.
The KIET-devised professional survey index (PSI) for the manufacturing sector's business conditions stood at 101 for next month, up from 90 for February. The index showed an upward movement for the fourth straight month.
It was the first time since May 2022 that the PSI has surpassed 100. The reading above 100 means that optimists outnumber pessimists over the business outlook. The reading below 100 shows that more people think business will get worse, rather than get better.
The PSI for exports jumped 11 points to 106 for March from a month earlier. The figure for domestic demand grew 14 points to 101. The PSI for investment edged up 3 points to 87.
The PSI for the semiconductor industry surged 24 points to 67, marking the highest rise among all manufacturing industries. The figure remained far below 100. However, the increase implied that the chipmaking industry's confidence improved considerably although a full-blown recovery is likely to come in the latter half of the year.
The figure for the smartphone and steel industries rose to by a double digit to 121 and 118, respectively. However, the PSI for the automobile industry and shipbuilding edged down to 103 and 105, respectively.
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