FILE PHOTO: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks about the coronavirus situation in Taiwan, during a news conference at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei, Taiwan February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Fabian Hamacher
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will help its hard-hit airline industry access T$50 billion ($1.6 billion) in financing, and does not rule out further economic stimulus to help during the coronavirus outbreak, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Thursday.
Trade-reliant Taiwan island is rolling out a T$60 billion stimulus package to help soften the economic impact of the virus and Tsai has said a further T$40 billion was available.
While Taiwan has only reported 108 cases of the virus, compared with more than 80,800 in neighbouring China, it is on a war-footing to prevent its further spread, and has closed its borders to foreigners, excluding residence permit holders.
Tsai, speaking at a news conference at the presidential office, said Taiwan’s economic fundamentals remain good and people should not hoard as the government can ensure stable supplies.
Taiwan media said on Thursday some shops and supermarkets have begun seeing shoppers clearing shelves of essential goods, much as has happened in other countries around the world.
Later on Thursday, Taiwan’s central bank will hold a quarterly meeting and is likely to announce its first policy rate cut since 2016.
Taiwan’s National Stabilisation Fund, which can be activated to intervene in the stock market, is also meeting on Thursday, as stocks on the island continue to fall on coronavirus worries.
Taiwan’s stock market .TWII is down almost 28% so far this year, and closed down 5.8% on Thursday.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Meg Shen; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
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