The spike in energy prices over the past two years is the biggest since the 1973 oil crisis, while the jump in food prices is the most since 2008, the World Bank said Tuesday in its commodity markets outlook report.
“Overall, this amounts to the largest commodity shock we’ve experienced since the 1970s,” said Indermit Gill, the World Bank’s vice president for equitable growth, finance and institutions.
Russia is a leading exporter of oil, natural gas and coal, while Ukraine is a major source of wheat and corn. The situation has been exacerbated by soaring fertilizer costs and price spikes for key metals.
After nearly doubling last year, energy prices are expected to jump more than 50% this year before easing in 2023 and 2024, the World Bank said. Food prices will soar by 22.9% this year, highlighted by a 40% rise in wheat prices, according to the report.
“These developments have started to raise the specter of stagflation,” the World Bank warned. “Policymakers should take every opportunity to increase economic growth at home and avoid actions that will bring harm to the global economy.”
Prices are expected to stay at “historically high levels” through the end of 2024, the World Bank said.
The fear is that high prices for necessities will hit low-income families the hardest.
“The resulting increase in food and energy prices is taking a significant human and economic toll — and it will likely stall progress in reducing poverty,” Ayhan Kose, director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, said in the report.