Developing world may need $700 billion -World Bank

DAR ES SALAAM,  (Reuters) – Developing countries  could face a financing gap of $270-$700 billion — equivalent to  the latest U.S. economic rescue package — to help deal with the  effects of the global crisis, the World Bank said yesterday.

The World Bank said even at the lower end of that estimate,  resources of international institutions would not be sufficient  to meet the financing needs as more and more emerging and  developing countries are hit.

“Should a more pessimistic outcome occur, unmet financing  needs will be enormous,” the World Bank said in a paper prepared  for meetings of the G20 group of countries in London in April.

The World Bank spends billions of dollars annually fighting  poverty in developing countries.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund said developing  countries would need $25 billion, and possibly as much as $140  billion, in 2009 to meet their financing needs.

The World Bank said the crisis threatened long-lasting  repercussions for developing countries, struggling to find  markets for goods as world trade volumes suffer their first  annual decline since 1982, while remittances from overseas  workers slow, and falling commodity prices provide less revenue  for governments.

“The challenge facing developing countries is how, with  fewer resources, to pursue policies that can protect or expand  critical expenditures, including on social safety nets, human  development and critical infrastructure,” the World Bank said.

Until recently, the impact the crisis would have on  developing countries was unclear. But recent data has  highlighted the potential scale of the damage, prompting  institutions like the World Bank and IMF to raise alarm bells.

The worry is that many developing countries will not be able  to afford fiscal stimulus packages of their own and will require  aid from external sources.

More immediately, concerns are mounting as to how the  rollover of maturing debt in emerging markets will be financed  given the global credit crunch, especially for banks and large  corporations, which will put financial pressure on governments  who themselves are finding foreign capital hard to access.

The World Bank estimates well over $1 trillion in emerging  market corporate debt and $2-3 trillion in total emerging market  debt will mature in 2009, the majority of which reflects claims  of major global banks extended cross-border or through  affiliates and branches in emerging markets.

Most of this lending is in foreign currency, and for  relatively short terms, meaning currency and maturity risks are  primarily on the balance sheet of emerging market banks,  corporate and households.

“There is mounting evidence of growing pressure on interbank  lines, particularly those extended to the corporate sector.  Recent evidence of rollover efforts on public debt of major  corporates indeed suggests that even stronger corporates in key  emerging markets are struggling,” the World Bank said.

It estimated that in 2009, 104 of 129 developing countries  will have current account surpluses smaller than private debt  coming due. For these countries, total financing needs were  expected to amount to more than $1.4 trillion during the year.

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