Korean businesses have a pessimistic outlook for the country's economic prospects in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The survey of 2,500 companies put the business survey index at 94 for the October-December period, compared to 97 for the third quarter.
Any reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.
The BSI came in at 99 for the second quarter and has been dropping since. A KCCI spokesman said businesses are concerned about "obstacles posed by slow economic conditions in other emerging countries, compounded by slower GDP growth in China and the weak Japanese yen," which makes Japanese exports cheaper than Korean products.
The fourth-quarter BSI among big businesses fell eight points compared to the third quarter to 94, while the index among small- and mid-sized companies dropped three points, also coming in at 94. Companies that sell their products mainly in Korea also feel more pessimistic at 93, down three points from the previous quarter, but exporters remain cautiously optimistic with the index sliding two points to 101.
Among the companies surveyed, 38.5 percent forecast the economy will start a full-fledged recovery in the second half of 2014, but 30.9 percent do not see a recovery until 2015, while 28.9 percent forecast a recovery as soon as the first half of next year.
"Both external and internal conditions face uncertainties, so the economy is highly likely to continue low growth for the time being," said Park Jong-gap at KCCI.