SEJONG, May 28 (Yonhap) — South Korea will set up a guarantee fund of 500 billion won (US$405 million) to provide more loans to auto parts firms that have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Thursday.

The fund, which will be financed by the government and carmakers, will provide guarantees for loans for auto parts firms, Hong said.

The public sector will buy 9,500 cars by the end of September to prop up auto parts firms, Hong said.

To boost private consumption, the government will open a nationwide shopping festival on June 26 for a two-week run, Hong said.

In May, South Korea’s consumer sentiment rebounded from an 11-year low as the nation eased social distancing rules.

Hong said the rebound in consumer confidence is a “meaningful signal” for an economic recovery.