SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumer sentiment gained for a second straight month in February as a third wave of coronavirus infections showed signs of slowing down, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came in at 97.4 for February, up 2 points from the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

A reading below 100 means pessimists outnumber optimists.

The latest reading marks the second on-month gain following a drop in December last year, when the nation was logging about 1,000 daily new infections. This week, South Korea has reported about 400 daily new infections, although health authorities warned against complacency.

The BOK said consumer sentiment improved as new cases of coronavirus infections slowed down amid hopes for vaccinations.

Earlier this month, South Korea eased social distancing rules as the third wave slowed down but kept a ban on gatherings of five or more people.

Stricter anti-coronavirus measures had battered self-employed small merchants, as well as the manufacturing and service industries.

The subindex for people’s assessment of current economic conditions rose to 63 in February, up from 56 in January, while the index gauging people’s sentiment toward future economic conditions reached 90 this month, up from 89 in January.

This undated file photo shows apartment complexes in Seoul. (Yonhap)