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S. Korea prepares over 10 tln-won extra budget bill against coronavirus: minister

All News 16:53 March 03, 2020

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is preparing an extra budget bill worth more than 10 trillion won (US$8.37 billion) to help fight against the new coronavirus, the finance minister told a parliamentary session Tuesday.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki added that the outbreak of COVID-19 may undercut the country's economic growth by 0.2 percentage point this year.

"(The outbreak) will probably have a negative impact on gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter and on this year's overall growth rate," Hong said at a parliamentary interpellation session.

The fast spread of the coronavirus is widely expected to put downward pressure on South Korea's economy.

Last week, the Bank of Korea cut its growth estimate for this year to 2.1 percent from 2.3 percent forecast three months earlier, citing the impact of the coronavirus.

To minimize the economic fallout of the virus outbreak, the government is preparing a supplementary budget and will submit the related bill to the National Assembly on Thursday.

Hong earlier said the envisioned extra budget would be larger than 6.2 trillion won, the amount of fiscal spending included in the 2015 extra budget to cope with the MERS outbreak.

The government has rolled out emergency measures totaling 20 trillion won to cushion the impact of the virus outbreak.

"Together with the extra budget, the government expects expansionary fiscal spending worth 30 trillion won," Hong said.

South Korea reported an additional 600 cases of the new coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the total infections to 4,812.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki speaks at a parliamentary interpellation session on March 3, 2020. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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