Taiwan to hand out more stimulus coupons to boost consumer spending by $7.2 billion By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People buy New Year decorations while wearing protective masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in Taipei, Taiwan February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan said on Thursday it planned to issue “stimulus coupons” again to boost consumer spending by T$200 billion ($7.22 billion) and support its coronavirus-hit economy, as the island worked to counter a small outbreak of the Delta variant.

While a relatively small outbreak is well under control in Taiwan, 10 cases of the more transmissible Delta variant were reported near capital Taipei this week, prompting the populous New Taipei City to tighten curbs including dining-in.

In its latest move to spur the trade-reliant economy, Taiwan’s cabinet announced a budget of T$160 billion for the coupons, part of a stimulus package worth T$840 billion.

Citizens will be given T$5,000 worth of cash-equivalent coupons, which can only be used until the end of June next year and can be spent in most shops, but there are some exceptions, including tobacco purchases.

The Taiwan government last year spent nearly T$50 billion for similar coupons, a move it said had spurred consumer spending by T$100 billion.

“We created enormous economic benefits this way last year. This year, we expect it to be better than last year,” Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters. “The stimulus coupons will bring a stronger stimulus effect and a better life for everyone.”

Taiwan’s economy, a key part of the global technology supply chain, is expected to grow 5.88% this year, the fastest pace in more than a decade, thanks to strong global demand for the island’s tech exports during the pandemic.

Early and effective prevention steps had succeeded in shielding Taiwan from the worst of the pandemic and many curbs including limiting personal gatherings had been eased since August after a rare surge in cases earlier this year.

($1 = 27.6910 Taiwan dollars)

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