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(LEAD) S. Korea to offer 10 tln won in new relief program for small businesses

All News 08:52 April 29, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS remarks, details in paras 5-7, new photo)

SEJONG, April 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will provide 10 trillion won (US$8.2 billion) next month in new relief loans for small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Wednesday.

Hong made the remarks as he presided over a meeting with economy-related ministers and heads of financial authorities to discuss measures to revive economic growth.

The global economy is facing an "unprecedented crisis and recession" as the pandemic battered global supply chains and consumption, Hong told the meeting.

Coronavirus shocks have begun dealing a blow to the nation's economic sentiment, real economy and job market, Hong said.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki speaks at a meeting with economy-related ministers on April 29, 2020, in this photo provided by the ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

As social-distancing measures crippled off-line retail sales, owners of small businesses have felt the brunt of the fallout from the coronavirus, Hong said.

The government will encourage six commercial banks to give the new relief loans to small business owners, Hong said.

To reinvigorate economic growth, the government also began reviewing measures to ease regulations in 10 industrial sectors, including artificial intelligence and mobility, Hong said.

South Korea's economy shrank 1.4 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of the year, marking the sharpest quarterly contraction since the last three months of 2008.

South Korea has pledged to increase the size of its aid package by 90 trillion won to 240 trillion won for coronavirus-hit companies and to support job protection.


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