Bill Gates says rates likely to rise enough to cause global economic slowdown

Many countries, including the United States, Britain and India, have started raising interest rates to try to tamp down inflation. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said interest rates are likely to rise enough to cause a global economic slowdown, triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I'm afraid the bears on this one have a pretty strong argument that concerns me a lot," Mr Gates said on Sunday on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS.

The Microsoft co-founder said the war in Ukraine, which sent commodity prices soaring, "comes on top of the pandemic, where government debt levels were already very high and there were already some supply chain problems".

Many countries, including the United States, Britain and India, have started raising interest rates to try to tamp down inflation.

That "eventually will result in an economic slowdown", said Mr Gates, whose US$123 billion (S$171 billion) fortune makes him the world's fourth-richest person in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The International Monetary Fund last month slashed its world growth forecast by the most since the early months of the pandemic and projected even faster inflation because of the war in Ukraine and China's renewed virus lockdowns.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.