Coronavirus: Italy injects €400 billion into economy

Conte promises "new spring for Italy" thanks to emergency stimulus package.

Italy’s government has approved a new emergency decree that will offer more than €400 billion worth of liquidity and bank loans to companies adversely affected by the Coronavirus crisis, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte announced the stimulus package, which he described as "firepower", in a televised address on the evening of Monday 6 April.

"With the decree just approved, we are giving immediate liquidity of €400 billion to our companies: €200 billion for the internal market, another €200 billion to boost the export market," Conte said.

Together with a previous stimulus package unveiled in March, the legislation would allow banks to offer credit totalling more than €750 billion in an attempt to bolster Italy's economy.

"I cannot remember such powerful measures being introduced in the history of our republic to help with the financing of our businesses," Conte said.

The Treasury will protect banks from losses on 90 per cent of loans to companies of all sizes, while the guarantee can be extended to 100 per cent of possible losses for loans of up to €25,000.

Italy's economy minister Roberto Gualtieri described the package as an "unprecedented intervention" with a "massive mobilisation of public resources" to give "a powerful guarantee to protect our production system, to overcome this difficult moment and be able to relaunch itself."

The package, made possible by a loosening of European Union regulations on state aid to companies, aims to keep credit flowing to the economy without forcing losses onto banks because of the additional risks they assume due to the Coronavirus, reports Reuters.

More than 16,500 people in Italy have died of Coronavirus since the crisis began in February, with all non-essential businesses remaining closed until 13 April, at the earliest.

"Soon we will reap the fruits of our sacrifices," said Conte, adding: "I want to say to Italians: you are making a fundamental contribution, when it is all over there will be a new spring for Italy."

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