SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s business confidence dropped for the sixth straight month in June amid the coronavirus pandemic, a poll by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed Friday.

The OECD business confidence index (BSI) came to 96.3 for Asia’s fourth-largest economy in June, down a tad from 96.4 the prior month, according to the survey by the Paris-based club of major economies.

The OECD index for South Korea had been on the decline since January when it edged down to 98.4 from 98.5 in December following the COVID-19 outbreak. Seoul confirmed its first case on Jan. 20.

The index measures business conditions for the six months ahead. A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

In contrast to South Korea’s setback, the average BSI for OECD members rose to 97.96 in June from 97.50 in May, marking the first on-month increase in five months.

South Korea’s June reading was the ninth lowest among 28 OECD member nations with comparable figures.

Worse performers include Finland (96.2), Portugal (95.6), Slovenia (95.4), Slovakia (94.6), the Czech Republic (94.4), Turkey (93.4), Ireland (92.1) and Estonia (89.8).

Yet South Korea’s business conditions are seen as being on track for an improvement, given a recent series of better economic indicators.

According to data from the Korea Customs Service, South Korea’s exports fell 7 percent on-year to US$42.8 billion in July, the first single-digit drop since April’s 25.5 percent plunge.

Last Thursday, the Bank of Korea said South Korean manufacturers’ business sentiment for August rose by the most in 17 months as a massive economic stimulus package raised hopes for an economic recovery.

The business sentiment index (BSI) for local manufacturers came to 57 for August, compared with 51 for July, the biggest on-month gain since March 2019, when the reading rose by 11 points.