March 17, 2020 / 3:07 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Serbia introduces 90-day moratorium on loan payments - statement

(Adds quotes, details from central bank statement, recasts)

BELGRADE, March 17 (Reuters) - Serbia’ central bank imposed a 90-day moratorium on loan payments to help people and companies weather the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the economy, it said in a statement.

The central bank has already lowered its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 1.75%, to help minimise economic disruption caused by the outbreak.

The moratorium of no less than 90 days applies to private or corporate debtors who wish to use it, the bank said in a statement.

“The debtor will not be compelled to pay due instalments for loans or leasing (arrangements),” it said.

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has warned that Serbia, which on Sunday declared a state of emergency, closed borders, schools and universities and recommended people to work from home, would this year face difficulties achieving its planned 4% growth.

To counter the effects of the outbreak, the Serbian government introduced a 10% wage increase for all health workers and a one-off payment to help pensioners, most of whom have been asked to stay indoors. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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