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Korea’s Consumer Confidence Plummets on Coronavirus Fears

  • Index drops by most since June 2015, to lowest since August
  • Low reading gives central bank another reason to ease policy
Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant at a bus depot in the Eunpyeong district of Seoul on Feb. 24, 2020.
Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant at a bus depot in the Eunpyeong district of Seoul on Feb. 24, 2020.Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
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South Korea’s consumer confidence plunged the most in five years as coronavirus spreads quickly in the country, blunting the momentum toward economic recovery.

The index slid 7.3 points in February to 96.9, dropping below 100 -- which serves as a yardstick for positive or negative sentiment -- according to the Bank of Korea. The fall is the largest since June 2015, when another type of coronavirus -- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome -- hit the Korean economy.