KUWAIT: Kuwait’s central bank announced a stimulus package yesterday 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 percent and eased the risk weighting for SMEs to 25 percent from 75 percent. It also raised the maximum lending limit to 100 percent from 90 percent 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. – Reuters