Skift Take

Economies like Thailand's — which were already flagging but still had tourism as a bright spot — stand to lose the most from the virus outbreak.

Thailand on Friday outlined a stimulus package, estimated to be worth more than $3.2 billion, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on activity in an already-flagging economy.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy is growing at its weakest pace in years due to soft exports and investment. The epidemic continues to hit tourism, which was a bright spot.

The package, approved by the economic cabinet, includes cash handouts, soft loans and other financial assistance, and tax benefits, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana told reporters after a meeting of economic ministers.

“It’s a temporary, broad-based package to help various groups,” he said.

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The value of the package was not given on Friday, but Uttama earlier said it would be worth more than 100 billion baht ($3.17 billion) and would seek approval from the whole cabinet on March 10.

Financial support for businesses includes soft loans at 2% interest rates, debt moratorium and delayed debt repayments, and lower utilities expenses and other costs, Uttama said.

The government will give 2,000 baht each to low-income earners, farmers and independent workers, he said.

It will offer higher tax benefits on some long-term fund investments to support the stock market

Measures to help airlines will be considered later, said Kobsak Pootrakool, secretary to the economic cabinet.

He said first-quarter economic performance would not be good, with the epidemic currently slashing foreign tourist numbers by about 50%.

Thailand’s economy grew 2.4% last year, the weakest in five years. Growth this year is likely to be much lower, with Kasikornbank’s research center predicting it at just 0.5%, the lowest since 2009.

This article was written by Kitiphong Thaichareon from Reuters and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Tags: coronavirus, thailand, tourism

Photo credit: Wat Ban Tham temple in Thailand. A Tong Lee / Flickr

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