The Economist Who Invented The BRICs Just Invented A Whole New Group Of Countries: The MINTs

Jim o'neillCNNMoneyJim O’Neill.

Former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill is the one who popularised the term “BRICs” in reference to the group of emerging-market economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

This year, however, the fortunes of those economies have taken a turn for the worse for various reasons, and many investors are abandoning the idea that they will be able to continue the rapid growth that has characterised the past several years.

Much investor attention has therefore shifted from emerging markets to “frontier markets,” a classification made up of economies smaller than those of the BRICs.

In a new column for Bloomberg View, O’Neill presents a new potential investment destination: the “MINT” economies (emphasis added):

I spent last week in Indonesia, working on a series for BBC Radio about four of the world’s most populous non-BRIC emerging economies. The BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are already closely watched. The group I’m studying for this project — let’s call them the MINT economies — deserve no less attention. Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey all have very favourable demographics for at least the next 20 years, and their economic prospects are interesting.

Policy makers and thinkers in the MINT countries have often asked me why I left them out of that first classification. Indonesians made the point with particular force. Over the years I’ve become accustomed to being told that the BRIC countries should have been the BRIICs all along, or maybe even the BIICs. Wasn’t Indonesia’s economic potential more compelling than Russia’s? Despite the size of its relatively young population (a tremendous asset), I thought it unlikely that Indonesia would do enough on the economic-policy front to quickly realise that potential.

“Now, meeting a diverse group of Indonesians — from the leading candidates for the 2014 presidential elections to shoppers in Jakarta’s busy malls — I found a healthy preoccupation with the country’s economic prospects,” writes O’Neill. “Could Indonesia do what’s needed to lift the country’s growth rate to 7 per cent or more, they were asking, or would it have to settle for ‘just’ 5 per cent?”

Fellow Bloomberg View columnist Matthew C. Klein points out on Twitter that Fidelity actually coined the term “MINT” in 2011:

Read O’Neill’s whole column at Bloomberg View
, and expect to hear a lot more about the “MINTs” going forward.

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