SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumer sentiment hit a six-month high in August on hopes for an economic recovery amid the new coronavirus outbreak, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came in at 88.2 for August, up from 84.2 tallied for the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reading marks the highest since the 96.9 seen in February. The sentiment index has been improving since it reached the lowest in over 11 years in April.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

“The index rose as the level of social distancing remained at the lowest level in most areas while optimism for economic recovery increased,” the BOK said.

But the August data did not reflect woes over the latest spike in virus cases, as the monthly index was surveyed before virus infections flared up. The poll was conducted on 2,500 households between Aug. 10 and 14.

South Korea’s new virus cases have been in triple digits since Aug. 14, when the country reported 103 daily new virus cases. The country added 266 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday after its new virus infections topped 300 for the third straight day.

The country raised the level of social distancing to Level Two across the nation in its three-tier system on Sunday for two weeks, following the imposition of tough anti-virus measures in the capital city of Seoul and surrounding regions.

The index on people’s assessment of current economic conditions rose by five points to 54 in August, and the index gauging people’s sentiment toward future economic conditions hit the six-month high of 75 this month, up from 70 the previous month.

The index measuring the outlook for housing prices stayed flat at 125 in August, as sales prices of apartments showed some letup in sharp rises following the government’s measures to stabilize the housing market, according to the BOK data.