Shanghai banks issue 1.31 bln yuan in cheap loans amid virus outbreak

SHANGHAI/BEIJING, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Banks in Shanghai have issued 1.31 billion yuan ($186.74 million) in cheap loans to 48 key firms to help tackle a coronavirus outbreak that has dampened economic activity, a local government official said on Wednesday.

The bank loans had an average interest rate of 2.35%, and were made mostly to manufacturers, medical suppliers and equipment makers, Li Jun, deputy director of the Shanghai Financial Service Office, told a news briefing.

China’s benchmark loan prime rate (LPR) is 4.05%.

Cities across much of China have been in lockdown since an extended Lunar New Year holiday last month, while travel bans and quarantine orders have been put in place around the country in efforts to curb the virus from spreading.

This has caused economic disruptions, with factories and businesses unable to fully resume operations due to a lack of workers and raw materials.

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