S. Korean manufacturers’ confidence jumps for Oct

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SEOUL, Sept. 30 South Korean manufacturers’ business sentiment for next month remained negative but jumped to a three-month high, a poll showed Tuesday.

The business sentiment index, which measures manufacturers’ outlook on their business situation for the coming month, came in at 78 for October, compared with 74 for September, according to the Bank of Korea.

The forecast for next month marks the highest level since the outlook for July, when the index came in at 78. It also marks the first increase since the outlook for April.

In terms of seasonally adjusted figures, the monthly index rose to 78 from 75.

A reading below the benchmark 100 means there are more pessimists than optimists. The index has been below the benchmark since July 2010, when it hit 100.

By sector, the index measuring small and medium enterprises’ outlook for October jumped to 76 from 68, while that for bigger conglomerates retreated to 79 from 81.

The index measuring domestic-focused companies’ outlook rose to 79 from 74, while the figure for exporters stood pat at 75, according to the data.

The outlook for October is based on a nationwide survey of 2,862 companies conducted from Sept. 16-23

An earlier poll of the country’s 600 largest firms conducted by the Federation of Korean Industries also signaled an improvement in sentiment, with their business sentiment index for next month reaching 100.7, up from 93.1 for September.

It is the first time that the figure has risen above the break-even mark of 100 since May, when it tallied 101.7.