WASHINGTON — Developing countries, led by China, will remain the main engines of global economic growth in 2013 as Europe and the United States plod along, the World Bank said in a report released Tuesday.
For this year, the development lender lowered its forecast for global growth to 2.4 percent, from a June estimate of 3.0 percent, saying the economic recovery remains “fragile and uncertain” despite lower financial risk.
The report, “Global Economic Prospects,” highlights the two-speed growth gap between high-income and developing countries.
The high-income countries at the center of the financial crisis were projected to produce gross domestic product growth at a tepid 1.3 percent rate in 2013.
Developing countries would see a more robust 5.5 percent GDP growth, the World Bank estimated, rebounding from a 2012 slowdown to the slowest pace in 10 years amid the eurozone’s public debt crisis.
“This is going to be an interesting year where we do expect that some of the global driving is going to move on to developing countries,” World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu said in a conference call.
Again leading the growth pack, China’s economy was expected to expand 8.4 percent this year after slowing below 8.0 percent in 2012.
The World Bank also predicted a sharp rebound in Brazil, to a pace of 3.4 percent after a difficult 2012 when growth stalled below 1.0 percent.
“Developing countries have remained remarkably resilient thus far. But we can’t wait for a return to growth in the high-income countries,” World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.
“We have to continue to support developing countries in making investments in infrastructure, in health, in education.”
The Washington-based institution warned that strong growth in the developing countries was not guaranteed.
“To keep growing rapidly, developing countries will need to maintain the reform momentum that underpinned the acceleration of growth during the 1990s and 2000s,” the report said.
These countries are at risk from a deterioration of the situation in the eurozone, where the bank predicted another year of recession with negative GDP growth of -0.1 percent, and the entrenched political gridlock over the the budget in the United States.
“For developing countries, nothing is really as important as a stable, buoyant US economy,” Basu said.
According to the World Bank, the world’s biggest economy will slow to 1.9 percent growth this year from 2.2 percent in 2012.