World Bank warns brewing trade storm jeopardizes global economy

Headquarters of World Bank in Washington

In comparison, China is expected to register a much lower growth rate of 6.3 per cent in 2018-19.

The Philippines will be among the fastest-growing countries in East Asia and the Pacific, roughly matching or outpacing China (6.5% in 2018, 6.2% in 2019 and 2020, and six percent in 2021) though slower than Vietnam (6.8% in 2018, 6.6% in 2019, and 6.5% in 2020 and 2021).

"High unemployment and slow growth in household credit extension are expected to constrain domestic demand in 2019, while fiscal consolidation limits government spending", said the bank. "Debt vulnerabilities in emerging market and developing economies, particularly low-income countries, have increased", it said.

Trade has been slowing, global manufacturing activity has been getting weaker and financial conditions have been tightened.

It also kept its 6.6% forecast for 2020 made in an October regional report and gave a new estimate of 6.6% for 2021.

According to the report, global economic growth is projected to soften from a downwardly revised 3 per cent in 2018 to 2.9 per cent in 2019 amid rising downside risks to the outlook.

The World Bank on Tuesday projected moderation of global growth from three per cent last year to 2.9 per cent this year, as one of its top officials described the current situation of the world economy as "darkening of the skies".

"Global growth is still robust but whether a storm will hit or it will clear highly depends on how policymakers are going to react", he said. Other countries retaliated with tariffs of their own in disputes that have yet to be resolved.

"Trade tensions are already affecting activity around the world", Kose said, and it could get worse.

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The report sharply downgraded the growth forecasts for key emerging market economies like Mexico, South Africa and Russian Federation, as well as for crisis-struck countries Turkey and Argentina.

But the United States and China together account for about a third of global GDP and 20% of global trade.

Urging countries to accelerate reforms, Ms Georgieva said from the Bank's perspective, this is particularly critical for investing in human capital, lowering barriers to higher investments and boost positivity and make sure that they are integrated in the world economy in a way that helps them to expand and grow.

"When growth softens, we are likely to see either stalling or even reversal of poverty reduction".

After rising in 2018, confidence is ebbing and "this is cause for concern".

Georgieva will take over interim leadership of the entire World Bank Group next month after President Jim Yong Kim abruptly announced on Monday that he will resign to take a job in the private sector.

"The sense of urgency has to be there", Kose said.

The report highlights with concern a big jump in borrowing by the poorest nations, debt that increasingly coming from lenders that unlike the World Bank do not provide concessional terms.

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