Korea Manufacturer Confidence Falls to Lowest in 3 Years

South Korean manufacturers’ confidence fell to the lowest level in more than three years as gains in the won threaten to slow a rebound in exports and the country prepares to vote for a new president next month.

An index measuring expectations for December fell to 67 from 70 for November, the lowest since April 2009, the Bank of Korea said in a statement in Seoul today. A reading below 100 indicates that pessimists outnumber optimists.

Asia’s fourth largest economy has shown improvement before the Dec. 19 election, with overseas sales rising for the first time in fourth months in October. At the same time, the won is the best performing Asian currency in the second half of the year, weighing on sentiment in a country where exports make up about half of the economy.

A measure of expectations at non-manufacturing companies dropped to 65 from 67 in November, today’s report showed. The survey was conducted between Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 with responses from 1,458 manufacturers and 1,062 non-manufacturers.

South Korea’s industrial production probably rose 1 percent in October from a year ago after a 0.7 percent increase in September, according to a Bloomberg News survey before the data release tomorrow.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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