S. Korea weighs measures to counter virus fallout

SEOUL, The government is mapping out a package of measures to help cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak and galvanize the economy, officials said Tuesday.
The emergency measures, which include an additional supplementary budget worth at least 7 trillion won (US$5.9 billion), are scheduled to be unveiled as early as this week.
“A comprehensive package of emergency measures, including the extra budget, are on the table as part of efforts to give a boost to economic vitality,” a ranking government official said.
The move comes as the government and the ruling Democratic Party agreed to formulate the extra budget to provide “tailored” state support for those hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the unemployed, youth, freelancers, low-income people and merchants and the self-employed.
It would mark the first time in 59 years for the South Korean government to allocate four extra budgets in a single fiscal year.
On top of the envisioned supplementary budget, an additional 1 trillion won will be included in the package to help spur investment, exports and consumption, the official added.
The anti-virus package is expected to include steps to help virus-hit companies maintain workers on their payrolls and boost corporate hiring.
State-run corporations will expand their investments and private firms will be encouraged to invest more in a bid to help Asia’s fourth-largest economy tide over virus-induced difficulties.
The government is also considering measures to stimulate flagging private consumption and stabilize soaring food and vegetable prices in the wake of typhoons and torrential rains.
Pounded by the coronavirus outbreak, the South Korean economy has plunged into a recession as its gross domestic product shrank 3.3 percent in the second quarter after a 1.3 percent on-quarter contraction three months earlier.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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