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South Korea's extra budget to fight coronavirus set to beat 11.6t won Mers spending

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South Korea said on Friday a supplementary budget due next week to cushion the economic hit of the coronavirus will be larger than the 11.6 trillion won (S$13.3 billion) package spent during the 2015 Mers outbreak.

[SEOUL] South Korea said on Friday a supplementary budget due next week to cushion the economic hit of the coronavirus will be larger than the 11.6 trillion won (S$13.3 billion) package spent during the 2015 Mers outbreak.

The extra budget is part of a series of urgent measures President Moon Jae In's government announced on Friday as the virus disrupts exports and weakens consumer spending.

The finance ministry did not disclose the size of the extra budget but said it would be equal to or bigger than the 11.6 trillion won package deployed when the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome hit the economy in 2015.

The supplementary budget will be submitted for parliamentary approval next week. The ministry did not elaborate on how the budget will be funded.

Once approved by the parliament, the government plans to spend more than 75 per cent of the budget within the first two months.

Much of the new outlays will be allocated to small businesses, the medical and tourism sectors, as consumers pull back on discretionary spending.

A separate 16 trillion won package of tax breaks and cheap loans will go to small businesses that are struggling to pay wages to their workers and people who have lost their jobs for training, the ministry said in a statement.

REUTERS