Thailand Outlines $3.2 Billion Stimulus Package as Tourism Falls 50 Percent

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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.

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.