business sentiment-April

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean manufacturers' business confidence for April rose to its highest level in nine months due to seasonal factors and hopes for the economic recovery, the central bank said Friday.

The index gauging manufacturers' outlook on business conditions came in at 80 for April, up from 76 recorded for March, according to a monthly survey by the Bank of Korea (BOK). The index measures manufacturers' expectations for the coming month.

It marks the highest level since the index hit 81 for July 2012. A reading below the benchmark 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists. The index is based on a nationwide survey of 2,452 companies conducted from March 15-22.

The index of manufacturers' assessment of current business conditions came in at 75 in March, up from 71 tallied for February and the highest since June 2012.

"Manufacturers' confidence tends to rise in March or April when factory operations increase," a BOK official said.

The official added that local manufacturers seemed to pin hopes on the economic recovery even though economic uncertainty still lingers.

Korean manufacturers' sentiment, along with consumers' confidence, took a turn for the better even as the government cut its 2013 growth outlook to 2.3 percent on Thursday from its earlier projection of some 3 percent.

The government said it will create an extra budget in a bid to boost economic growth.

In a separate survey by the country's biggest business lobby, Korean business sentiment for April rose above the benchmark level for the second straight month as Seoul's stimulus measures lifted optimism about the economic recovery.

More manufacturers picked sluggish domestic demand and economic uncertainty as major setbacks in doing business. But compared with February, fewer companies selected a stronger won and weak exports as major challenges.

The index gauging exporters' outlook on business conditions reached 85 for April, up from 75 for March on expectations that Seoul's exports may perform well as the yen's weakness eased recently.

The index measuring large firms' business prospects came in at 83 for next month, compared with 78 for March, it added.

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