Small and medium-size enterprises affected by surging crude oil prices can now receive safety-net loans from government-linked financial institutions, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Tuesday.

Businesses whose sales have dropped by more than 10 percent from the previous year in recent months and that meet other conditions are entitled to loans of up to 480 million yen, including conventional loans, according to METI’s Small and Medium Enterprise Agency.

Interest on the loans will be 1.55 percent per year, which is lower than other types of loans, with repayment expected within five to seven years, the agency said.

According to a survey of 1,113 small businesses, more than 90 percent of small and medium-size enterprises in petroleum products, plastics, transportation and laundry said profits are being pressured by high oil prices.

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