South Korean midsized companies' business outlook for the second quarter has recovered to pre-pandemic levels amid a recovery in automaking and related sectors, a poll showed Thursday.
The Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea said its business survey index (BSI) of the country's top 500 midsized firms stood at 89.5 for the April-June period, up 5 points from three months earlier.
It marks the first time for their outlook reading to surpass the pre-coronavirus level of last year's first quarter, when it came in at 86.7.
A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists, while a figure below the benchmark means the opposite.
The BSI for the manufacturing industry came to 90.1 for the next quarter, up 8.3 points from the previous quarter, with that for automaking soaring to 92 from 85.7.
The index for the nonmanufacturing sector reached 89 for the coming quarter, up 2.8 points from three months earlier.
The BIS for exports amounted to 91.4 for the next three months, up 8.6 points from the first quarter, with that for domestic demand rising by 3.5 points to 89.8.
The surveyed companies cited sluggish domestic demand (55.2 percent), excessive competition (37.4 percent) and rising labor costs (36.4 percent) as the biggest hurdles to their management. (Yonhap)