South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that his government will add about 56 trillion won (46 billion U.S. dollars) for additional economic stimulus package to help prevail over the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak across the world.
"The global economy is falling into an extreme downturn. Our economy with high dependence on foreign trade is suffering a tsunami-like shock. (We) are in a dark tunnel with no end in sight," Moon said during the fourth weekly meeting of the emergency economic council, according to the presidential Blue House.
Moon said the stimulus package was aimed to reinvigorate export, bolster domestic demand and support start-ups and venture companies.
Under the new stimulus package, 36 trillion won (29.5 billion U.S. dollars) will be offered for trade finance, including 30 trillion won (24.6 billion U.S. dollars) to extend the maturity of export insurance and guarantee, 5.5 trillion won (4.5 billion U.S. dollars) for fresh trade finance and 1 trillion won (820 million U.S. dollars) for emergency liquidity.
South Korea's export fell 0.2 percent in March from a year earlier, after growing 4.3 percent in February. The export was forecast to slide rapidly in April.
To prop up the rapidly frozen domestic demand, 17.7 trillion won (14.5 billion U.S. dollars) will be provided including 12 trillion won (9.8 billion U.S. dollars) in tax cut for the self-employed of about 7 million suffering losses.
People here refrained from outside activities such as traveling, shopping and eating-out amid the fears of infection, hitting hardest the self-employed and microbusiness owners.
For start-ups and venture companies, 2.2 trillion won (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) will be given through low-rate loans and loan guarantees.
It was the fourth stimulus package to get over the economic slowdown from the COVID-19 outbreak.
After the inaugural emergency economic council meeting, Moon announced 50 trillion won (41 billion U.S. dollars) of emergency financial aid package for small firms, microbusiness owners and the self-employed.
The size of the package was doubled to 100 trillion won (82 billion U.S. dollars) in the second meeting to prevent competitive companies from going out of business because of a temporary liquidity shortage.
After the third meeting, Moon announced a plan to provide cash for households in the bottom 70-percent income group that requires about 9.1 trillion won (7.5 billion U.S. dollars) of government fund.
The parliament approved 11.7 trillion won (9.6 billion U.S. dollars) of the "first" supplementary budget in March.