Kuwait central bank announces stimulus to support vital sectors, SMEs

The Central Bank of Kuwait has reduced liquidity and capital adequacy requirements for banks and cut risk weighting for SMEs

  
The Kuwait Central Bank towers over the traditional Dhow harbor in Kuwait City, Kuwait March 18, 2020.

The Kuwait Central Bank towers over the traditional Dhow harbor in Kuwait City, Kuwait March 18, 2020.

REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

DUBAI  - Kuwait's central bank announced a stimulus package on Thursday to support vital sectors and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) amid the fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.

The Central Bank of Kuwait has reduced liquidity and capital adequacy requirements for banks and cut risk weighting for SMEs, it said in a statement.

The bank cut capital adequacy requirements by 2.5% and eased the risk weighting for SMEs to 25% from 75%. It also raised the maximum lending limit to 100% from 90% and increased the maximum financing for residential real estate developments to the value of the property or the cost of development.

It said the measures would encourage banks to lend more and help vital sectors and SMEs "overcome the current circumstances".

CBK said it would closely monitor banks to ensure the package meets its intended purpose "and will not hesitate to take further measures to meet the higher interest of the national economy".

On Wednesday, Kuwait announced measures to shore up its economy against the pandemic, including soft long-term loans from local banks, and the central bank asked banks to ease loan repayments for companies affected. 

Kuwait, which as of April 1 had registered 317 cases of the new coronavirus, was the first Gulf country to ground all passenger flights and impose a partial curfew to stem the spread of the highly infectious respiratory illness.

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Toby Chopra and Giles Elgood) ((Yousef.Saba@thomsonreuters.com; +971562166204))

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