Thailand injects $4.6 bln in soft loans to help virus-hit business -

BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Thailand has provided about 148 billion baht ($4.65 billion) in soft loans to small businesses hit by the corinavurius outbreak so far this year, the central bank said on Wednesday.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has lent 58 billion baht to some 35,000 small enterprises under its 500 billion-baht soft loan scheme, deputy governor Ronadol Numnonda said in a statement.

The Government Savings Bank has provided 55 billion baht, with the remaining 35 billion baht coming from other financial institutions, he said.

The BOT’s loans are part of a larger economic package worth 1.9 trillion baht aimed at mitigating the impact of the outbreak on the economy expected to shrink the most since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

The economy may shrink 5-6% this year, or a loss of up to 1 trillion baht, according to state planning agency. ($1 = 31.86 baht) (Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Toby Chopra)