World Bank Cuts GDP Growth Forecast of East Asia Factoring War in Ukraine

The World Bank has cut its growth forecasts for East Asia and the Pacific for 2022 to reflect the economic impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. warning the region could lose further momentum if conditions worsen.

In a report on April 5, it said the lender expects 2022 growth in the developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region, which includes China, to expand 5 per cent, lower than its 5.4 per cent forecast in October.

The lender added, growth however could slow down to 4% if conditions worsened and government policy responses were weaker.

China is expected to grow 5% this year down from the previous estimate of 5.4%, noting its government’s capacity to provide stimulus to offset adverse shocks.

“The region confronts a triad of shocks which threaten to undermine its growth momentum,” said World Bank East Asia and Pacific chief economist Aaditya Mattoo.

The war between Russia and Ukraine, which Mr Mattoo said was the “most serious risk” to the region’s growth outlook, is leading to food and fuel price increases, financial volatility and reduced confidence all over the world.

Mattoo said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is more worrying to economic growth given the region was still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, a structural slowdown in China and faster inflation that could prompt quicker US monetary tightening.

The war’s impact on economies in East Asia and the Pacific would vary depending on their exposure and resilience, Mr Mattoo said. Excluding China, output in the rest of the region is projected to expand 4.8 per cent this year.

“Just as the economies of East Asia and the Pacific were recovering from the pandemic-induced shock, the war in Ukraine is weighing on growth momentum,” World Bank vice-president for East Asia and Pacific Manuela Ferro said in a statement.

“The region’s largely strong fundamentals and sound policies should help it weather these storms.”