The World Bank has slashed its global growth forecast by nearly a third to 2.9% for 2022.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aggravated the pandemic’s economic damage, the bank said, warning that many countries now face “feeble growth” and elevated inflation through early 2023. Downside risks remain, the institution said, indicating that its outlook could be slashed further—to as low as 2.1%—if the negative effects persist.
The most devastating economic impact is materializing in Ukraine and Russia, whose economies are expected to contract this year by 45.1% and 8.9%, respectively. Economies elsewhere are being hammered by the war’s ripple effects, intermittent COVID-19 lockdowns in China, and continuing supply chain disruptions.
Negative spillovers from the war in Ukraine are expected to more than offset any near-term boost reaped by commodity exporters from higher energy prices, with 2022 growth forecasts revised down in nearly 70% of emerging markets and developing economies. This group of economies are now expected to achieve growth of merely 3.4% this year, down from 6.6% in 2021, and well below their annual average of 4.8% experienced during the past decade.
After growing 8.1% in 2021, China’s economy is now expected to expand by only 4.3% this year; the recently announced stimulus measures may soften this deceleration. The Central Asian region’s economy will likely contract by 2.9% after growing 6.5% in 2021, before rebounding slightly to growth of 1.5% in 2023. South Asia will likely see growth of 6.8% this year and 5.8% in 2023.
Growth is also expected to decelerate sharply in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it will likely reach just 2.5% this year and slow further to 1.9% in 2023. Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth is expected to slow to 3.7% in 2022 from 4.2% in 2021. Advanced economies have not gone unscathed: their growth is now projected to decelerate sharply to 2.6% in 2022 and 2.2% in 2023 after hitting 5.1% in 2021.
The World Bank now expects that between 2021 and 2024 the pace of global growth will slow by 2.7 percentage points, and that subdued growth in a number of countries might persist through the decade as investment levels decline.