Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Are the BRIC Nations Cracking?

Contract workers fit drill pipe sections on the drilling floor of an oil rig in the Salym oilfields near Surgut, Russia.
Contract workers fit drill pipe sections on the drilling floor of an oil rig in the Salym oilfields near Surgut, Russia.Photograph by Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr./Bloomberg

Brazil, Russia, India, China. Group these developing nations together, as Goldman Sachs’s Jim O’Neill so presciently did in 2001, and you have the BRICs—perhaps the past decade’s most famous macro investing call.

The bloc’s subsequent ascent has been breathtaking. Its output has grown more than fourfold. China has dinged Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy. Brazil, which long sported a comparative advantage in hyperinflation, has become such an economic powerhouse that the Economist bestowed upon the nation this classic cover. According to the International Monetary Fund, the BRICs’ combined gross domestic product soared to $13.3 trillion last year, from $2.8 trillion just 10 short years ago. The MSCI BRIC index has gained more than eight times what the S&P 500 index returned during the past decade. Good call, Jim.