Korean businesses are becoming more pessimistic, though the gloomy outlook is more widespread among small and mid-sized firms than big conglomerates.
The Federation of Korean Industries on Sunday said the business survey index for November based on the country's top 600 companies stands at 92.5. A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.
The BSI has been stuck below 100 for six straight months after briefly swerving to 104.7 in May.
The Small and Medium Business Administration also surveyed 1,500 companies and put the index at a melancholy 85.4 points for November, down another 3.2 points from October. It was the first time since August that the index fell from the previous month.
Both big and small businesses are pessimistic due to the low-growth trend triggered by the European and U.S. economies. Snowballing household debt and cash crunches suffered by some businesses also affected sentiment.
Businesses here expect both exports and domestic sales to deteriorate. "Concerns over prolonged slow growth are spreading, with the Bank of Korea officially forecasting this year's GDP growth in the 2-percent range," an FKI spokesman said. "Businesses are feeling the crunch."