The U.S. Senate has managed to pass their stimulus package and U.S. President Donald Trump passed it into law on Friday afternoon, March 27. Meanwhile, Asian countries are now stepping up with their own programs to solve the current coronavirus-induced economic crisis.
Earlier this week, the U.S. managed to secure a historical $2 trillion [AU$3.2 trillion] stimulus bill that will aid the States amid the coronavirus crisis.
This week, some countries in Asia such as India and Singapore are now planning to deploy their own stimulus packages.
Asian stimulus packages ‘cheaper’ compared to the US
India recently proposed a stimulus package worth $22.5 billion. The package will focus on programs for food security measures for poor households and through direct cash transfers.
Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman reports:
“We have come with a package, which will immediately take care of the concerns, the welfare concerns, of the poor and suffering workers and those who need immediate help […] So, we will be giving enough to take care of their food grains requirement, protein requirement, in terms of pulses.”
As for cash transfer measures, it will be for the benefit mostly the poor and low-income workers, Sitharaman adds. India will also provide medical insurance of 5 million rupees per front-liner in the coronavirus outbreak.
Also this week, Singapore announced to allocate over $33.2 billion worth of stimulus package in an effort to shift its economy through the coronavirus outbreak. Heng Swee Keat, Singapore’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, said in a parliament speech on March 26 that this is a landmark package and necessary response to a unique situation.
The proposed package will focus support on businesses and households after studying that their first-quarter estimates expect to shrink due to the pandemic.
Heng also mentions that this package will provide support for specific sectors that have been pummelled by the outbreak. These sectors include tourism, aviation, transportation, culture, and arts industries.
Japan, South Korea went ahead of other Asian countries
Last March 14, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe had a meeting with a panel of ministers to brainstorm of a package to help the economy from the pandemic. This week, they began discussions on a stimulus package worth $502 billion with cash handouts to households that have taken a toll from the coronavirus outbreak.
In a Reuters report in South Korea last March 4, they announced a stimulus package worth $9.8 billion. Finance minister Hong Nam-ki told in a news conference that their policies will focus on minimizing the economic fallout.
He emphasizes that the stimulus package aims to assist the vulnerable sectors, small to medium-sized businesses, and self-employed people.
China plans to prepare for another stimulus package according to a report in Bloomberg. Ting Lu, Chief China Economist of Nomura thinks that Beijing has the capacity to launch a massive stimulus package due to more limited policy space than in previous easing cycles.