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Philippine government seeks 540b peso budget support from central bank

[MANILA] The Philippine government has sought 540 billion pesos (S$15.26 billion) in funding support from the central bank, its governor said on Wednesday, as it seeks to finance measures to fight the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno said the government's request for support will be submitted to the central bank's monetary board for approval.

In March, the bank agreed to buy 300 billion pesos worth of government securities to help the Philippines deal with the fallout of Covid-19, which has killed 5,504 people and infected 311,694 in the country, among the most cases recorded in Asia.

The central bank has been aggressive in easing monetary policy, slashing its key rate by 175 basis points cumulatively this year, to reduce pandemic's economic damage, but fiscal support from the government has been limited.

The World Bank on Tuesday said the Philippine economy will likely contract by 6.9 per cent this year, worse than the government's projected 5.5 per cent decline.

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