The World Bank’s chief economist, Indermit Gill, on Wednesday, warned that interest rate hikes could spell trouble for countries struggling to deal with debt.
In order to bring down inflation, the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Banks and others have raised rates and warned that they could remain high longer than expected.
Gill, who spoke at a news conference during the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Marrakesh, Morocco, said: “In spite of all of these shocks, we have not seen any big economies really get into trouble. But the good news basically ends there, referring to the covid era and the war in Ukraine.
“The trouble now is that because of the high rates, the high interest rates that you mentioned, growth is slowing down a lot,” Gill said, recalling that during another long period of high interest rates, in the 1970s, around 24 economies were left bankrupt.
“We should expect this tightening cycle to also take long,” he said. “We should expect some countries to (get) into trouble.”
Also speaking, the World Bank President, Ajay Banga said there was “no doubt” that inflation has begun to come down but that rates will stay higher for longer.
“That can be a complicated event in many ways for investments as well as to people who over the years have got used to a low interest rate environment,” Banga said.
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