SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumer sentiment rose by the most in nearly 12 years in October as the economic outlook improved amid relaxed social distancing measures, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came in at 91.6 for October, up 12.2 points from 79.4 recorded for September, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reading marks the largest on-month increase since April 2009 when the index rose by 20.2 points.

It also marks the highest mark since February when the sentiment index reached 96.9.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

The BOK said the rebound in consumer sentiment came as people presented a brighter economic outlook following a slowdown in new COVID-19 cases.

On Oct. 12, South Korea lowered the social distancing measures by one notch to Level 1, the lowest in its three-tier scheme, after applying tougher virus curbs across the nation for about two months since late August.

Despite the ups and downs, new virus cases have been largely on a downward trend after they stayed in the triple digits for more than a month since Aug. 14.

In August, the BOK trimmed its 2020 growth outlook to a sharper-than-expected contraction of 1.3 percent, citing the fallout of a flare-up in virus cases.

The index on people’s assessment of current economic conditions rose by 16 points to 58 in October, and the index gauging people’s sentiment toward future economic conditions reached 83 this month, up from 66 in September.

The index measuring the outlook for housing prices gained five points to 122 in October despite the government’s measures to stabilize the housing market, the data showed.