The World Bank has issued a report this week that takes a much darker view of the future than that in a recent report from the International Energy Agency, which indicated that strong economic growth would soon resume, driving oil prices back higher as wellâ''along, possibly, with prices in general. The World Bankâ''s Global Economic Prospects report, to the contrary, concludes that the global commodity boom of the last five years is over, period. That means for at least the next year or two, sharp declines in world trade and little or no growth in production, and eventually a rebound of the oil price to $75, not the $100 the IEA forecast.
Though the bankâ''s report is much more pessimistic than most other recent reviews, it may not be pessimistic enough. It predicts that the volume of world trade will decline 2.1 percent next year and yet developing countries will still register net growth averaging 4.5 percent. Why would that be?