May 12, 2020 / 9:01 PM / 14 days ago

S.Korea to expand special loans to virus-hit small firms

SEOUL, May 13 (Reuters) - South Korea’s central bank said on Wednesday it would raise the ceiling for its special loans programme by 5 trillion won ($4.1 billion) to 35 trillion won to extend support to small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bank of Korea said in a statement it would increase cheap loans to manufacturers, retailers, the tourism sector and others in the service industry starting on May 18 to keep credit flowing to businesses.

The central bank slashed interest rates by 50 basis points to a fresh low of 0.75% in March, and signalled strong appetite in April for further cuts as well as unconventional policy to stabilise the economy. ($1 = 1,225.5600 won) (Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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