SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) — The business sentiment of South Korean manufacturers continued to worsen, dipping to the lowest point in over 12 years for the upcoming month, amid growing concerns over the economic fallout from the new coronavirus, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The business sentiment index (BSI) for local manufacturing firms came to 49 for June, down from 50 for this month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reading marks the lowest since February 2009, when the index stood at 48.

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.’

The index has been on a steady decline since February, shortly after South Korea reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 20.

The daily number of new infections has slowed to around 30 or below since mid-April, but the economic impact from the virus outbreak continues to grow and is finally being realized.

South Korea’s exports plunged 24.3 percent on-year in April, following a 0.2 percent on-year drop the previous month, according to earlier reports.

Outbound shipments are expected to again sharply decline in May, with exports tumbling 20.3 percent on-year in the first 20 days of the month.

The BSI of local exporters came to 53 for June, unchanged from the index for this month.

The BIS of domestically focused firms dipped to 46 for the upcoming month from 48 for May.

Meanwhile, the BSI of non-manufacturing firms here came to 56 for June, up from 50 for this month, according to the BOK.

 As of Tuesday, South Korea has reported 11,225 COVID-19 cases, with 269 deaths. The number of new infections has remained under 20 for two consecutive days since Monday.