‘Growth economies' –– building upon BRICs

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 21, 2011 Published on January 21, 2011

Mr Jim O'Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is perhaps best known for two things: his devotion to Manchester United and his coining of the phrase BRIC nations back in 2001.

The snappy-sounding acronym that captured the growing economic powers of the world proved a tremendous success and a much-needed replacement for “emerging markets,” the phrase that had been coined by the then-World Bank economist Mr Antoine van Agtmael in the 1980s.

It proved more enduring than others, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, which refers to China, India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, India and Turkey, and HSBC's CIVET, which refers to Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa. Only PIGS, the acronym for four of Europe's “most indebted nations — Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain — has proved quite as popular.

Further revamp planned

A decade on, Mr O'Neill plans a further revamp, which will reflect what he describes as the “structural story of our time.” Later this month, Mr O'Neill will be publishing a paper making the case for what he calls the “growth economies” and includes the BRIC nations, alongside Indonesia, Korea, Mexico and Turkey, Mr O'Neill wrote in a note to investors over the weekend.

Calling the countries “emerging markets” simply does not make sense, argues the former Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs, who took up his current role late last year.

“If you combine their current GDP, but still acknowledge the revenue growth of western multinational in the Growth Markets and account for the volatility of companies' performance, it seems clear that investors should increase their neutral weighting to these economies,” says Mr O'Neill.

Describing the $15.6-billion deal between Mr Rakesh Gangwal and Mr Rahul Bhatia's IndiGo airline as the “most startling single story” that he had heard this year so far, he argues that “India is quite likely to grow at a faster rate than China” going forward, despite problems such as inflation.

“Given the power of their underlying story, even if the current moment might not be the absolute best time to be investing, smart policy behaviour will allow this remarkable story to unfold.”

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Published on January 21, 2011
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