Swiss gear up to expand emergency liquidity program

Swiss gear up to expand emergency liquidity program

imageEconomy18 hours ago (Apr 01, 2020 08:25AM ET)

(C) Reuters. Swiss Federal Council news conference in Bern

 

By Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland is preparing to expand an emergency liquidity program for coronavirus-hit businesses, the government said on Wednesday, as banks have already lent out more than half of the 20 billion Swiss francs ($20.70 billion) set aside for state-backed loans.

“This should address the high demand from companies for COVID-19 bridge loans,” Switzerland’s cabinet said in a statement, adding it had instructed the finance ministry to craft the proposal for additional measures by Friday.

Swiss economy minister Guy Parmelin said the total volume of loans granted so far is 10.6 billion francs as part of the no- and low-interest credit program set up last week.

Switzerland’s government has so far set aside a total of 42 billion francs to help the export-driven economy through the crisis, the biggest economic aid package in Swiss history. It is now looking to extend and top up existing economic measures, if needed.

That could include helping protect start-ups from bankruptcy, it said, and expanding financial support to cover self-employed individuals who have seen massive losses due to the economic disruption, even though they do not work in occupations that have been forbidden as part of measures the country has adopted to limit the epidemic’s spread.

Further measures are under consideration to cover travel agencies, culture and sports, the government said, while adding it would be unable to cover all claims for lost income.

Swiss gear up to expand emergency liquidity program

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