Italy earmarks 350 mn euros for SACE fund to help coronavirus-hit firms

(IANS/AKI, Rome, 26 February 2020) The Italian government is making a total 650 million euros available to help Italian companies weather the coronavirus emergency, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday. "Italy''s foreign trade institute (Ice) is making available 300 million euros for our companies and we will hold joint discussions on the best way to tackle this moment," Di Maio wrote on Facebook. A further 350 million euros will be set aside for Sace-Simest, Di Maio added, referring to a company that belongs to state lender Cassa depositi e prestiti and which is 76 per cent controlled by Italy''s export credit agency Sace. Economists have warned the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak whose epicentre is in the wealthy, industrial north of the country may tip Italy back into another recession - its fourth since 2008.