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Author: Tan KW   |   Latest post: Thu, 28 May 2020, 10:44 PM

 

Switzerland ready to raise US$21b loan package

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SWITZERLAND'S 20 billion-franc ($21 billion) fund for state-backed emergency loans to small businesses can be increased, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer told the SonntagsBlick newspaper.

Lending under the program began last week, and there have already been 30,000 applications, Maurer said in an interview with the newspaper published on Sunday. The government has guaranteed roughly 4 billion francs worth of lending in just two days, he said.

"It’s possible that we’ll have to top it up, ” Maurer said, adding that the government is prepared to spend "as much as necessary.” We’re going into debt to save jobs, ” he said.

Officials have shut down non-food shops, restaurants, theaters and gyms to control the coronavirus epidemic. The economy is expected to suffer a recession, and more companies have already asked to participate in the government’s reduced-hour program than during the 2008 global financial crisis.

UBS Group AG has calculated the Swiss federal government could spend roughly 145 billion francs in addition to the 20 billion fancs already announced without endangering its AAA credit rating.

In the interview, Maurer appeared to back calls from businesses to normalize activity in the foreseeable future.

"The current situation isn’t sustainable in the the long term, neither mentally nor economically, ” the finance minister told SonntagsBlick.

Maurer’s party, the Swiss People’s Party, wants restrictions eased from April 19, according to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

 - Bloomberg

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