SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s business sentiment inched up for February from a month earlier on decreased economic uncertainty, a poll showed Tuesday.

The business survey index (BSI) of the country’s top 600 companies by sales reached 96.6 for next month, up 4.9 points from January, the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) said in a statement.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists, while a figure above the benchmark means the opposite.

KERI said the February confidence got a boost from eased business uncertainty resulting from the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and the commercialization of coronavirus vaccines.

The BSI for the electronics and communication equipment sector came to 104.2, hovering above the benchmark 100 for two months running. The index for the petrochemicals industry also remained above par for the second straight month, reaching 103.3.

The index for the automobile industry amounted to 91.2 for the coming month, up 13.8 points from January.

KERI said the performance BSI for January stood at 97.1, up 3.7 points from the previous month yet remaining below par.

KERI, the research arm of the Federation of Korean Industries, South Korea’s biggest business lobby, said 381 out of the 600 companies responded to the survey, which was taken from Jan. 13-20.