SEOUL An index measuring South Korean business confidence showed that manufacturers turned slightly more optimistic about business conditions for the month ahead as exports continued to grow, a central bank survey showed on Tuesday.
The Bank of Korea's manufacturing business survey index for March rose to 79 on a seasonally adjusted basis from 78 for February.
The reading was the highest since March 2015 when the index reached 80, but is well below 100, meaning the number of companies expecting business conditions to deteriorate still outnumber those seeing an improvement.
Business confidence for manufacturers who categorised themselves as exporters jumped to 88 for March from 81 a month earlier.
Companies that cater mainly to local consumers also expected conditions to improve, with their confidence index edging up to 77 for March from 73 for February.
South Korea's exports likely rose for a fourth straight month in February, a Reuters poll showed on Monday, on a rebound in commodity prices and improving global demand.
The median forecast from 13 analysts was for exports to jump 14.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with 11.2 percent growth in January. Imports were expected to grow 21.7 percent.
February exports data will be released on March 1.
(Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)