Countries in the emerging Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region is expected to grow in 2011, although at a moderate 4.5 per cent, while rising food and energy prices could make importing countries vulnerable, the World Bank said during a press briefing on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank spring meeting.
"Rising food and energy prices could push 5.3 million more people into poverty across emerging Europe and Central Asia," said Theodore Ahlers, World Bank's director of strategy and operations for Europe and Central Asia.
"For most countries in the region, growth returned in 2010, following sharp declines in 2008 and 2009. However, the region's annual growth of around 4.5 per cent was much lower than that of other regions in 2010, and projections for 2011-13 indicate only slightly stronger performance," he added.
However, the Bank expects growth to be more tepid in central and southeastern Europe than in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) helped by high commodity prices, rising exports and remittances from expatriates.
The major problem is high costs of food and energy, which make net importers vulnerable to increase in poverty, particularly in lower income economies in the CIS. This would also pressure macroeconomic policy management across the region, the World Bank said.
For countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Russia, which account for 15 per cent of the world's oil production and are large oil exporters, high commodity prices mean higher growth and current account and fiscal balances.