Massive Pump-Priming over Coronavirus Planned

  • By Hong Jun-ki, Lee Ki-hun

    February 18, 2020 11:27

    The government will start another round of pump-priming this month since private consumption and exports have been devastated by the coronavirus outbreak.

    Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said on Monday that recent economic indicators raise fears of exports to China nosediving, the number of Chinese tourists dropping, and sales of restaurants, hotels, department stores, and superstores dwindling.

    Consumer sentiment has been hit by the coronavirus scare although there have been no fatalities since the outbreak here, he added.

    Support will focus on airlines, shipping companies, travel agencies and restaurants.

    The government will provide emergency loans of up to W300 billion to cash-strapped budget carriers due to canceled reservations and dwindling passengers (US$1=W1,184). Shipping companies will get emergency loans of up to W60 billion.

    Small travel agencies will get collateral-free loans of up to W50 billion at an interest rate of just one percent to help overcome their crisis. The loans for restaurants, currently at W10 billion, will be increased and interest slashed from 2.5 to three percent to two to 2.5 percent.

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