Taiwan to offer $266 mn to help small companies

TAIPEI, December 23, 2011 (AFP) - Taiwan said Friday it will put an extra Tw$8 billion ($266 million) into a credit guarantee fund aimed at helping smaller companies as the global economy slows.

The fund, designed to help small and medium enterprises short of collateral to secure external financing, will provide an additional coverage of Tw$112 billion in loans after the money has been added, the presidential office said.

The move is part of a recent series of government measures aimed at countering the fallout for the island's export-dependent economy from Europe's deepening debt crisis.

The authorities announced earlier this week that they will intervene in the stock market and spend up to Tw$500 billion to buy stocks.

Taiwan's weighted index has dived 29 percent since the beginning of the year, and the fall is one of the chief complaints against President Ma Ying-jeou, who is seeking a second and final four-year term next month.

The government recently downgraded its 2011 economic growth forecast to 4.51 percent from 4.56 percent due to sluggish demand from its main markets in Europe and the United States.