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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Global recession deeper than predicted, World Bank says

Global recession deeper than predicted, World Bank says

090623_13.jpg
090623_13.jpg

Developing nations expected to be hardest-hit as foreign direct investment

from richer countries dries up, worsening unemployment and poverty

Photo by: STEVE FINCH

The World Bank said that developing countries, including Cambodia, are likely to see private capital inflows plummet this year.

 Cambodia to contract

The World Bank said on Monday in its

latest economic outlook that Cambodia's economy would contract 1

percent this year, the same forecast it delivered in April. The

London-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) said on Monday that its

forecast also remained unchanged at minus 3 percent. While the World

Bank said that East Asia had delivered the most stimulus spending of

any region in the world, the EIU said there was little scope to do so

in Cambodia due to lacking fiscal resources. ANZ Royal Bank CEO Stephen

Higgins said there was "a reasonable amount of fiscal space" to spend

on boosting economic growth. Steve Finch

WASHINGTON
THE World Bank said the global recession this year will be deeper than it predicted in March and warned that a flight of capital from developing nations will swell the ranks of the poor and the unemployed.

The world economy will contract 2.9 percent, compared with a previous forecast of a 1.7-percent decline, the Washington-based lender said in a report Monday. Growth will be 2 percent next year, down from a 2.3 percent prediction, the bank said.

The bank, formed after World War II to fund health and development projects in poor countries, said that though a global recovery may begin this year, impoverished economies will lag behind rich nations in benefitting.

The lender called for "bold" actions to hasten a rebound and said the prospects for securing aid for the poorest countries were "bleak".

"The recovery is not going to be V-shaped," said Alvin Liew, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. "We may see slower consumer demand over a prolonged period."

The bank is more pessimistic than its sister organisation, the International Monetary Fund. The IMF, which is forecasting a global contraction of only 1.3 percent this year and growth of 2.4 percent in 2010, said Friday that it plans to revise estimates "modestly upward".

The lender's view also contrasts with that of billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, who on Saturday told Polish television that the worst of the global financial crisis "is behind us".

The World Bank cut its outlook for the United States this year, forecasting a 3 percent drop in the world's biggest economy, after predicting a 2.4 percent contraction in March.

Japan's GDP will shrink 6.8 percent, more than the previous prediction of a 5.3 percent decline, the lender said. The euro area's economy may shrink 4.5 percent, compared with the previous estimate of a 2.7 percent contraction.

Global trade may drop by 9.7 percent, compared with a March forecast of a 6.1-percent decline.

"Unemployment is on the rise, and poverty is set to increase in developing economies, bringing with it a substantial deterioration in conditions for the world's poor," the World Bank said.

Though the world is set to return to growth in the second half of 2009, a recovery will be subdued, the report said.

Reduced capital inflows from exports, remittances and foreign direct investment means "increasingly grave economic prospects" for developing nations, the lender said.

After peaking at US$1.2 trillion in 2007, inflows this year may fall to $363 billion, it said.

Reduced aid from advanced economies because of the economic crisis will also likely weigh on their finances, the bank said.

Developing world slows

Economic growth in the developing world will be 1.2 percent, the World Bank said, scaling its outlook back from 2.1 percent.

Developing nations in eastern Europe and Central Asia will be some of the hardest-hit, the revised forecasts show. The region's economy is likely to shrink 4.7 percent this year, down from the 2-percent decline projected in March.

China, which is the biggest of the developing economies, will keep pumping money into its financial system during this "critical" phase of its recovery, Premier Wen Jiabao said in a statement on the government's Web site Sunday.

Efforts to revive domestic economies through stimulus spending should be coordinated internationally, the bank said.

"Any country that acts alone - even the United States - may reasonably fear that increases in government debt will cause investors to lose confidence in its fiscal sustainability and so withdraw financing," the report said.

The US is implementing a two-year, $787 billion stimulus package, while China is spending $585 billion.  BLOOMBERG

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