(Adds details, reason for gloomy outlook)
By Choonsik Yoo
SEOUL May 30 Housing prices across South Korea
rose for a ninth consecutive month in May from April, data from
a top local mortgage lender showed on Friday, helping ease
concerns about weakening consumer confidence.
Data that Kookmin Bank posted on its website
showed its nationwide housing price index rose 0.07 percent in
May from April, the ninth monthly gain in a row although slowing
from a 0.21 percent gain in April.
Over a year earlier, the index gained 1.38 percent in May
after a 1.30 percent annual rise in April, the data showed.
Kookmin's housing price data is widely used in South Korea
as an official indicator. The bank usually releases monthly
housing price data on the first working day each month and May
data was expected to be published on Monday.
Doubts were growing about the strength of domestic demand in
Asia's fourth-largest economy after a central bank survey showed
on Monday its key consumer sentiment index slipped to an
eight-month low of 105 in May from 108 in April.
Government officials have said consumer confidence could be
hit by the gloomy mood spreading across the country after the
capsizing of a ferry last month that killed more than 300
passengers, the worst civilian maritime disaster in two decades.
Analysts were divided, however, over how long and how
significantly the largely sentimental shocks from the disaster
would drag on the macro-economic performance.
(Editing by Nick Macfie and Ron Popeski)