Business sentiment falls in S. Korea over Middle East tensions: poll

South Korea's business sentiment index fell in November amid concerns that tensions in the Middle East stemming from the Israel-Hamas conflict may add to inflationary pressure and production costs here, a poll showed Wednesday.

The business survey index for 364 out of the country's top 600 companies by sales stood at 90.1 for next month, down 0.5 point from October, according to the monthly poll by the Federation of Korean Industries.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists, while a figure above the benchmark means the opposite.

The BSI for the manufacturing industry came to 89.1 for November, with the index for the nonmanufacturing sector reaching 91.1. The index for manufacturers has fallen for 20 consecutive months, and that for nonmanufacturing firms has declined for the fourth straight month.

The FKI, the lobby for the country's family-controlled conglomerates, attributed the weak November reading to concerns of an increase in oil prices due to escalating tensions in the Middle East and prolonged economic woes of local businesses. (Yonhap)