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soft loana LOAN that bears an INTEREST RATE charge which is much lower than the market rate of interest for such loans. Soft loans are made available by the government to encourage investment in particular types of industrial activity or in particular regions, and by international organizations such as the INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND and WORLD BANK to help countries with balance-of-payments difficulties, provide economic aid and to assist industrial development. See INDUSTRIAL POLICY, REGIONAL POLICY.
soft loana LOAN that bears an INTEREST RATE charge substantially below that of the interest rate that is charged normally on a loan for a similar purpose and risk status.
Soft loans are often given as a form of ECONOMIC AID to DEVELOPING COUNTRIES by developed countries and international institutions (see WORLD BANK) and are used as a form of EXPORT SUBSIDY. In addition, soft loans may be used to influence industrial location under a country's REGIONAL POLICY.