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Monday, 15 April 2019

Does anybody remember the BRICS?

Does anybody remember the BRICS? Brainchild of former Goldman chief economist Jim O’Neill, the term helped kick-start huge investment into Brazil, Russia, China and India (and later South Africa). The four countries were touted to become the future global powerhouses, providing a counterweight to the Western-dominated global economy and usher in a new, multipolar world. But by 2015, Goldman’s BRICS fund — once worth upwards of USD 800 mn — closed having lost 88% of its value. This short video courtesy of CNBC explains the rise and fall of the BRICS (watch, runtime: 9:18).

What happened? US monetary policy played a big hand in the decline of the BRICS as a future economic and political force. The markets which had benefited so much from the US Federal Reserve’s easy money saw capital return to the US as the central bank ended its stimulus measures and began to raise interest rates. Politics also intervened. Russian involvement in Ukraine and the Petrobras scandal in Brazil effectively put the brakes on their rapidly ascending economies.

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