South Korean manufacturers turned more downbeat about their business conditions in April due to persistent concerns over sluggish domestic demand, a poll showed Monday.
The business sentiment index, which measures the outlook of manufacturers on their business conditions for the coming month, reached 80 for April compared with 82 tallied for March, according to the Bank of Korea.
The April reading also marks a deterioration in seasonally adjusted terms, with the index falling to 76 from 79 in the cited period.
A reading below the benchmark 100 means that pessimists outnumber optimists. The index has been hovering below the threshold since July 2010, when it hit 100.
The on-month fall was largely attributed to domestic demand that continues to remain tepid. The data showed that 26.1 percent of the polled manufacturers picked sluggish domestic demand as their biggest concern, up from 24 percent a month earlier.
By sector, the index measuring large firms' forecasts inched up by 1 point to 86, while the reading for small and medium enterprises weakened to 75 from 79.
Sentiment for exporters remained unchanged at 83, but that for domestic-focused firms slipped by two notches to 79.
The monthly data comes amid growing concerns that the Korean economy, Asia's fourth-largest, is failing to recover despite policy efforts including the central bank's rate cuts. Data released last week showed that fourth-quarter economic growth reached 0.3 percent, down from an earlier estimate of 0.4 percent.
The outlook for April is based on a nationwide survey of 2,862 companies, including 1,475 manufacturers, conducted between March 16 and 23.