China cuts pension, insurance costs to help firms ride out coronavirus

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will cut some pension contributions and insurance fees to help companies cope with the coronavirus, while firms in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, won't have to pay pensions, jobless and work-injury insurance until June.

Small firms in other provinces will be exempt from paying pensions, jobless insurance and work injury insurance until June, while payments by large firms will be reduced by half until April, state television quoted the cabinet as saying.

Before the end of June, firms can apply for delaying their payments to the state-run housing provident fund and unpaid repay loans to the provident fund due to the virus's impact will not be treated as overdue, the cabinet said.

Local governments must ensure the orderly return of migrant workers to their workplace in areas that have not been seriously affected by the epidemic, the cabinet said.

The government will also keep the minimum purchase price for rice stable this year, it said. It will accelerate hog production and increase state reserves of frozen pork, it added.