The president of the World Bank has warned that the war in Ukraine could spark a global recession.
He said Germany’s economy, the world’s fourth largest, has already slowed significantly due to higher energy prices.
The war has also led to a fertiliser shortage that could worsen economic conditions elsewhere, he said.
“As we look at the global GDP … it’s hard right now to see how we avoid a recession,” he said, speaking at an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce.
“The idea of energy prices doubling is enough to trigger a recession by itself,” he added.
Europe, China and the US are seeing slower growth, while developing countries are being hit even harder by inflation, he said.
China’s economy has been hit especially hard due to the added pressure of the coronavirus pandemic, which led authorities to impose lockdown restrictions in Shanghai, as well as a pre-existing real estate crisis.
The World Bank slashed its global growth forecast for 2022 by nearly a full percentage point last month, from 4.1% to 3.2%, citing the impact of the conflict.
Ukraine and Russia are big players in world food production, representing 53% of global trade in sunflower oil and seeds, and 27% in wheat, according to the United Nations.
In Africa, 25 countries import more than a third of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia.
Russia and Ukraine export 28% of fertilisers made from nitrogen and phosphorous, as well as potassium.
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Ukraine has had problems shipping supplies out of the country due to the conflict, while Russian energy exports have been hit by sanctions.