x

Economy

World Bank Dims Outlook for Global Economy amid Russia War

WASHINGTON — The World Bank has sharply downgraded its outlook for the global economy, pointing to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the prospect of widespread food shortages and concerns about the potential return of “stagflation” — a toxic mix of high inflation and sluggish growth unseen for more than four decades.

The 189-country anti-poverty agency predicted Tuesday that the world economy will expand 2.9% this year. That would be down from 5.7% global growth in 2021 and from the 4.1% it had forecast for 2022 back in January.

“For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid,” said David Malpass, the World Bank’s president.

The agency doesn’t foresee a much brighter picture in 2023 and 2024: It predicts just 3% global growth for both years.

For the United States alone, the World Bank has slashed its growth forecast to 2.5% this year from 5.7% in 2021 and from the 3.7% it had forecast in January. For the 19 European countries that share the euro currency, it downgraded the growth outlook to 2.5% this year from 5.4% last year and from the 4.2% it had expected in January.

In China, the world’s second-biggest economy after the United States, the World Bank expects growth to slow to 4.3% from 8.1% last year. China’s zero-COVID policies, involving draconian lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities, brought economic life to a standstill. The Chinese government is providing aid to ease the economic pain.

Emerging market and developing economies are collectively forecast to grow 3.4% this year, decelerating from a 6.6% pace in 2021.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has severely disrupted global trade in energy and wheat, battering a global economy that had been recovering robustly from the coronavirus pandemic. Already-high commodity prices have gone even higher as a result, threatening the availability of affordable food in poor countries.

“There’s a severe risk of malnutrition and of deepening hunger and even of famine,” Malpass warned.

The World Bank expects oil prices to surge 42% this year and for non-energy commodity prices to climb nearly 18%. But it foresees oil and other commodity prices both dropping 8% in 2023. It likened the current spike in energy and food prices to the oil shocks of the 1970s.

“Additional adverse shocks,” the agency warned in its new Global Economic Prospects report, “will increase the possibility that the global economy will experience a period of stagflation reminiscent of the 1970s.”

The prospect of stagflation poses a dilemma for the Federal Reserve and other central banks: If they continue to raise interest rates to combat inflation, they risk causing a recession. But if they try to stimulate their economies, they risk driving prices higher and making inflation an even more intractable problem.

The World Bank noted that the previous period of stagflation required rate increases so steep that they tipped the world into recession and led to a series of financial crises in the poor countries of the developing world.

 

RELATED

ATHENS, Greece  — Scores of Greek firefighters and water-bombing aircraft succeeded late Wednesday in taming a large wildfire on the fringes of Athens that forced authorities to evacuate two nearby settlements.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Immigrant Families Rejoice over Biden’s Expansive Move Toward Citizenship, While Some are Left Out

HOUSTON (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of immigrants had reason to rejoice when President Joe Biden unveiled a highly expansive plan to extend legal status to spouses of U.

STUTTGART, Germany  — Jamal Musiala is lighting up the European Championship and showing just why his teammates think the 21-year-old forward can go on to become one of the best players in the world.

ATHENS, Greece  — Scores of Greek firefighters and water-bombing aircraft succeeded late Wednesday in taming a large wildfire on the fringes of Athens that forced authorities to evacuate two nearby settlements.

BOSTON  — A blistering heat wave Wednesday extended from the Midwest to New England, leaving millions of people sweltering through the Juneteenth holiday, including in places like northern Maine where they rarely experience such conditions this early in the year.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.