A series of scenarios modelling the taper of the United States quantitative easing (QE) program carried out by the World Bank show that China is little affected, according to a report published Wednesday.
The announcement of tapering of the QE program has not been disruptive, Andrew Burns, acting director of the World Bank's economic prospects group and lead author of the twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects, said at a press conference in London.
Burns said, "It is reassuring that since the announcement of tapering by the Federal Reserve, we have had very little volatility in capital markets."
Burns said the report looked at what would happen to capital flows to developing countries if long-term interest rates in the U.S. were to jump up by 100 basis points in response to QE.
"If that were to occur it would be disruptive, and we would see a decline in capital flows to developing countries by as much as 50 percent for a short period of time," he said.
"What that rapid rise in interest rates does is compress the time that capital markets adjust, cause a relatively large portfolio adjustment that lasts for a few months and then things return to normal."
The second scenario considered was a rise of 200 basis points in long-term U.S. interest rates which could result in flows to developing countries falling by as much as 80 percent over a relatively short term.
"GDP impacts are significant, about 0.7 to 0.8 percent income for middle-income GDP over two years, equal to a 0.4 percent reduction in their growth rate," said Burns.
He added, "In the much less likely 200 basis points scenario, it would be 1.3 percent of middle income GDP, a reduction in growth rates of 0.6 percent."
"Impacts are larger in East Asia and the Pacific, excluding China, in developing Europe and central Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa," said Burns.
Over the last few years capital flows have been rising to sub-Saharan Africa, to the point where it is now the region which receives the greatest capital flows, expressed as a percentage of its GDP, said Burns.
However, China was relatively unaffected in the overall process, said Burns.
He added, "That is a little bit unexpected, because we have the sense of China being a major player a major recipient of capital flows."
"Part of the answer lies in the nature of the capital flows China receives. They are heavily weighted toward foreign direct investment, much less in terms of bond flows or equity flows which are the kinds of capital flows which are most sensitive to the type of tapering we are likely to observe," said Burns.
China is not as directly impacted as other economies in the region such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia or Vietnam, he said.
The report forecast that the most likely scenario was for the taper to follow a relatively orderly trajectory, and for global interest rates to rise only slowly, reaching 3.6 percent by 2016.
The impact of an orderly tightening of financial conditions on developing-country investment and growth is expected to be modest, with capital flows to developing countries projected to ease from about 4.6 percent of developing country GDP in 2013 to 4.1 percent in 2016, as investors take advantage of higher yield in high-income countries.
Global GDP growth was forecast to rise from 2.4 percent last year to 3.2 percent this year, stabilizing at 3.4 and 3.5 percent in 2015 and 2016.
Growth in developing countries in 2013 was relatively weak at an estimated 4.8 percent, but has been firming in recent months. This partly reflects strengthening growth in high-income countries, but also a recovery from earlier weakness in large middle-income countries such as India and China.
Growth in developing countries is forecast at 5.3 percent this year, and 5.5 percent and 5.7 percent for 2015 and 2016.