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from Global Markets Forum Dashboard:

Ebola’s “worst case” economic impact may total more than $40 billion – World Bank’s Evans

As world leaders gather this week for the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank  autumn meetings, Ebola will be top on the list of priorities. Apart from the human toll, the economic impact will be felt for at least a couple of years, said David Evans, senior economist of the World Bank’s Africa Division.

David Evans, senior economist, World Bank's Africa region

David Evans, senior economist, World Bank's Africa region

"What we see is that in the short run, by the end of this year, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are likely to be about $359 million poorer than they would have been in the absence of the Ebola outbreak,” Evans told the Global Markets Forum ahead of the meetings. “With our estimates of the impact of West Africa alone, even in a less tragic case, the lost GDP is likely to run into the billions. And in a worse case, we have even higher numbers (more than $40 billion).”

Six months ago, The New England Journal of Medicine published a report speculating that the then-nascent outbreak of Ebola in Guinea could be traced to a two-year old child. The World Health Organization (WHO) in March had only just announced an outbreak about two weeks prior to the World Bank/IMF spring meetings, reporting about two dozen deaths.

Fast forward by six months and more than 3,000 people are dead and some 7,400 are infected in West Africa, according to the WHO. An American who contracted the virus in Liberia was the first person diagnosed in the United States late last month. Expectations are for many more to succumb to Ebola and global heads of state are scrambling to bandage what has amounted to a poorly-managed containment of the virus. One estimate is for a half a million or more people in West Africa to become infected by year's end as a worst case scenario, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

from Breakingviews:

Ecuador economic ‘miracle’ meets maturity

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Turn on state television here, and within an hour or so a public service message will appear extolling the “Ecuadorean miracle” of President Rafael Correa. The advertisements highlight big new infrastructure projects and endorsements by experts, even an American or two.

from Breakingviews:

Bland Lagarde will escape the Bretton Woods curse

By Christopher Swann

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Christine Lagarde may soon reap the benefits of being bland. The IMF chief is under investigation for signing off on a 403 million euro ($531 million) payout to a French tycoon when she served as the country’s finance minister. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, her predecessor at the Washington-based lender, and former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz were both ousted for misconduct. Lagarde, though, has few enemies.

from Breakingviews:

South Africa needs neighbors’ growth rates

By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Two decades after Nelson Mandela became president, South Africa’s post-apartheid generation will vote for the first time in next week’s general election. The ruling African National Congress represents his political legacy, but that’s undermined by the party’s weak economic results. Maybe the “Born Frees,” as they’re known, can help change that.

from Breakingviews:

World Bank boss Kim tested by Honduran loan fracas

By Christopher Swann
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Newish World Bank President Jim Kim’s goal of cutting $400 million from the multilateral lender’s budget just got harder. With the Washington-based institution under fire for lending to a Honduran company accused of thuggish behavior, the temptation will be to add to red tape. That would slow the already sluggish loan process and impede efforts to cut poverty.

from Newsmaker:

Send your questions for World Bank President Jim Yong Kim

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will be at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event in London on June 19 discussing the threat to economic development posed by climate change, the business case for going green, global economic development, sustainable growth in the developing world and mobilising capital in international financial markets.

The Newsmaker will be President Kim’s first major public event in London since he was appointed World Bank Group President last year. He has committed the bank to a new strategy that will aim to "end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity".

from Global Investing:

The Sub-Saharan frontier: future generations

As growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to post a steady 5-6 percent per annum to 2017 according to IMF estimates,  investors will be taking notes on the region's growth story not least with the financial sector.

Growth projections have rebounded from forecasts of around a 3 percent rise in 2009 after falling commodity prices have hit one of the region's main revenue sources. Yet, according to the World Bank's recent Global Development Finance report, stronger commodities will firm growth prospects in the coming years. In recent weeks, commodities have dipped, dampening the outlook for some resource-rich countries, but as 76 percent of the region's population do not have access to a bank account, lenders are set to grow their presence in the region.

from India Insight:

Thirty-three percent of world’s poorest live in India

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

India has 33 percent of the world’s poorest 1.2 billion people, even though the country's poverty rate is half as high as it was three decades ago, according to a new World Bank report.

from Global Investing:

Twenty years of emerging bonds

Happy birthday EMBI! The index group, the main benchmark for emerging market bond investors, turns 20 this year.  When officially launched on Dec 31 1993, the world was a different place. The Mexican, Asian and Russian financial crises were still ahead, as was Argentina's $100 billion debt default. The euro zone didn't exist, let alone its debt crisis. Emerging debt was something only the most reckless investors dabbled in.

To mark the upcoming anniversary, JPMorgan - the owner of the indices - has published some interesting data that shows how the asset class has been transformed in the past two decades.  In 1993:
- The emerging debt universe was worth just $422 billion, the EMBI Global had 14 sovereign bonds in it with a market capitalisation of $112 billion.
- The average credit rating on the index was BB.
- Public debt-to-GDP was almost 100 percent back then for emerging markets, compared to 69 percent for developed markets.
- Forex reserves for EMBI countries stood at $116 billion
- Per capita annual GDP for index countries was less than $3000.
Now fast forward 20 years:
- The emerging debt universe is close to $10 trillion, there are 55 countries in the EMBIG index and the market capitalisation of the three main JPM indices has swollen to $2.7 trillion.
- The EMBIG has an average Baa3 credit rating (investment grade) with 62 percent of its market cap investment-grade rated.
- Public debt is now 34 percent of GDP on average in emerging markets, while developed world debt ratios have ballooned to 119 percent of GDP.
- Forex reserves for EMBIG members stand at $6.1 trillion
- Per capita annual income has risen 2.5 times to $7,373.

from Global Investing:

Easy business trend in emerging Europe

Polish central bank governor Marek Belka doesn't apportion a lot of importance to the fact that Poland can boast the second biggest improvement in the latest World Bank's ease of doing business index, after Kosovo.

"This year we have improved, but I don’t care too much about it,"  Belka said at a meeting in London today.

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