World Bank lending hits financial crisis level, highest since 2008

Published 11.04.2016 17:49

Lending to needy countries by the World Bank surged to a level last year normally only seen during financial crises, the Bank said Monday.

Facing slowing growth and low commodity prices, developing countries borrowed the most money from the World Bank in 2015 since the 2008-2009 crisis.

"As developing countries continue to face strong economic headwinds, demand for lending from the World Bank has risen to levels never seen outside a financial crisis," the World Bank said in a statement.

During its 2015 fiscal year, lending to emerging-market and low-income economies totaled $42.4 billion, up from $40.8 billion in 2014.

Of that total, lending for emerging, or middle-income countries, was $23.5 billion in 2015, compared with only $14 billion in 2006. The Bank projects that lending for emerging economies this year will surpass $25 billion.

Hit particularly hard by the sharp fall in oil and other commodity prices and China's cooling economy, a number of developing countries are suffering from strained finances and economic difficulties.

"Developing country governments are feeling the pressure to find additional ways to accelerate growth, in the current downturn," said Jan Walliser, a World Bank vice president, in the statement.

A large part of its support has been to help countries diversify sources of growth and buffer themselves against future shocks, the Bank said.

The World Bank, which holds its spring meetings with the International Monetary Fund this week in Washington, has set a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

"We are in a global economy where growth is expected to remain weak, so it is critically important that the World Bank play our traditional role of helping developing countries accelerate growth," said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in the statement.

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