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Taiwan approves extra $3.4 billion in loans for SMEs hit by pandemic

FILE PHOTO: Workers build bikes at a factory that belongs to Acetrikes industrials in Changhua, Taiwan, August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s central bank said on Tuesday it had agreed to provide an extra T$100 billion ($3.44 billion) in financing for small and medium sized companies to help them cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to T$300 billion.

The central bank in March made T$200 billion in financing available for banks to give preferential loans to businesses hit by the effects of the coronavirus in the tourism, transport and other sectors.

Financial institutions have extended T$170 billion in loans to SMEs since April 1, but the pandemic as it spreads globally is still causing operating cash problems for some firms, the bank said in a statement.

While Taiwan has the pandemic well under control thanks to early and effective prevention work, with only 23 active cases, it has largely closed off its borders to foreign visitors, hammering the travel and tourism sector.

However, Taiwan’s export-dependent economy has overall held up well thanks to demand for its tech products like tablets as the pandemic forces millions to work from home around the globe.

The central bank this month revised up its growth outlook for the year.

Earlier on Tuesday, the government reported the August unemployment rate which fell for a third month in a row, having spiked to a more than six-year high in May.

Reporting by Liang-sa Loh; Writing by Ben Blanchard; editing by Louise Heavens

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