SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumer sentiment slightly rebounded in May, central bank data showed Tuesday, apparently on a sharp decline in the number of new COVID-19 infection cases here.

The country’s composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came to 77.6 in the month, up 6.8 points from a month earlier when the index dropped to the lowest level since December 2008, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.’

“The consumer sentiment index rose in May as outlooks for the whole economy and household conditions all improved on the slowdown in COVID-19 infection cases,” the BOK said.

The number of new infection cases had slowed to around 30 or less per day since mid-April before briefly spiking due to a cluster of cases linked to popular nightspots in Seoul’s international district of Itaewon.

The number of daily new cases has again dipped to below 20 since Friday. South Korea reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 20.

A subindex measuring people’s sentiment toward their current economic conditions came to 79 in May, up 2 points from a month earlier, while a separate index on their outlook on their own economic conditions six months from now added 6 points to 85.

Those surveyed also anticipated conditions for the whole economy to continue improving down the road, with the index on their sentiment toward current economic conditions adding 5 points from a month earlier to 36 in May, and the index on their future outlook jumping 8 points to 67 over the cited period.

The monthly index is based on a survey of 2,500 households throughout the nation, 2,370 of which answered this month, according to the BOK.