[:en]Developing countries face a series of tough challenges in 2015, including the looming prospect of higher borrowing costs as they adapt to a new era of low prices for oil and other key commodities, resulting in a fourth consecutive year of disappointing economic growth this year, says the World Bank Group’s latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, released today.
As a result, developing countries are now projected to grow by 4.4 percent this year, with a likely rise to 5.2 percent in 2016, and 5.4 percent in 2017.
“Developing countries were an engine of global growth following the financial crisis, but now they face a more difficult economic environment,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “We’ll do all we can to help low- and middle-income countries become more resilient so that they can manage this transition as securely as possible. We believe that countries that invest in people’s education and health, improve the business environment, and create jobs through upgrades in infrastructure will emerge much stronger in the years ahead. These kinds of investments will help hundreds of millions of people lift themselves out of poverty.”
With an expected liftoff in U.S. interest rates, borrowing will become more expensive for emerging and developing economies over the coming months. This process is expected to unfold relatively smoothly since the U.S. economic recovery is continuing and interest rates remain low in other major global economies.
However, there are considerable risks around this expectation, the report argues. Just as the initial announcement of U.S. policy normalization caused turmoil in financial markets in 2013 – now referred to as the “taper tantrum” – the U.S. Federal Reserve’s first interest rate increase, or liftoff, since the global financial crisis could ignite market volatility and reduce capital flows to emerging markets by up to 1.8 percentage points of GDP, the report says[:]