Global Investing

BRIC-layer makes MINT

Former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill, deviser of the BRIC acronym uniting the emerging market giants of Brazil, Russia, India and China, has coined a new term – MINT.

In a series of BBC radio programmes starting today, O’Neill looks at the “next economic giants” of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. It’s a break-out of four of the countries from his previously-coined Next-11, which also included Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

O’Neill, who retired last year from his role as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (after spending too much time looking at Reuters), says on the BBC website that the MINT economies benefit from favourable geographical locations and, in some cases, reform-minded politicians:

If Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey get their act together, some of them could match Chinese-style double-digit (growth) rates between 2003 and 2008.

If Nigeria sorts out its problems of lack of power supplies, for example, it could grow by 10-12 percent a year, O’Neill says.

New frontiers to outpace emerging markets

Fund managers searching for yield are increasing exposure to frontier markets (FM) as a diversification from emerging markets (EM), as the latter have been offering negative relative returns since January, according to MSCI data.

Barings Asset Management  said on Monday it plans to launch a frontier markets fund in coming weeks, with a projected 70 percent exposure to frontier markets such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sri Lanka and Ukraine.

Emerging markets indices posted relative negative returns compared to developed and frontier markets in the first quarter, index compiler MSCI’s 2013 quarterly survey showed. The main emerging benchmark returned a negative 2.14 percent for the quarter, with the BRIC index also posting a loss, though a better performance of Latin American markets offered some promising signs  with a 0.48 percent increase.

Corruption and business potential sometimes go together

By Alice Baghdjian

Uzbekistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam found themselves cheered and chided this week.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International, measured the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 176 countries and all three found their way into the bottom half of the study.

Uzbekistan shared 170th place with Turkmenistan (a higher ranking denotes higher perceived corruption levels) . Vietnam was ranked 123th, tied with countries like Sierra Leone and Belarus, while Bangladesh was 144th.

Buyer beware or beware the buyers?

Hundreds of Bangladeshi investors have rioted on the streets of Dhaka in recent days over stock prices that have plunged nearly 18 percent since the start of the year. Police used batons and tear gas to break up protests that blocked roads around the country’s main stock exchange.

If this sounds familiar, rewind back to 2008 to another part of the Indian subcontinent, when angry investors rampaged through the Karachi Stock Exchange after a series of precipitous share price falls.

In less developed markets, retail investors often bear the brunt of losses as they tend to account for the bulk of total investment rather than institutional players.