South Korean consumer confidence is on a tear

PARK JI-HWAN / AFP / Getty Images

South Koreans are feeling pretty upbeat right now.

Their stock market is soaring and the government has announced an 11.2 trillion won supplementary budget designed to boost jobs and incomes growth.

In response, consumer confidence has soared, lifting to the highest level since December 2010 in June.

The chart below from Nomura shows the epic bounce in sentiment since the beginning of the year, along with the year-on-year change in retail sales growth over the past eight years.

Source: Nomura

While enormous, to Young Sun Kwon and Minoru Nogimori, economists at Nomura, the surge in confidence is unlikely to herald an equally large boost in retail spending.

“We believe that structural headwinds to consumption — high household debt, an ageing population, declining marriages and a low birth rate — will offset the positive impact of government-sponsored job programs and the wealth effect from higher house and stock prices,” the pair wrote on Tuesday.

Although they aren’t expecting a flurry of retail sales, they admit that if increased confidence translates to higher spending it will add upside risks to Nomura’s 2017 GDP growth forecast of 2.7%.

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