BRICS economies grappling with midlife crisis, says Nouriel Roubini

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The BRICS economies are in the midst of a midlife crisis says American economist Nouriel Roubini. Reuters The BRICS economies are in the midst of a midlife crisis says American economist Nouriel Roubini. Reuters
SummaryThe BRICS economies are in the midst of a midlife crisis says American economist Nouriel Roubini...

in the economy, he added.

Third, the commodity super-cycle is probably over ¿ for a variety of reasons ¿ and this hurts the BRICS that are commodity exporters: Russia, Brazil and South Africa.

"Given the slowdown of China, after years of high prices, commodity prices may fall further, hurting the growth of the commodity oriented BRICS," said Roubini, well known for his bubble warnings and doom scenarios.

Fourth, in the boom years for BRICS and for emerging markets, macro policies became too loose, leading to overheating.

"Deterioration of macro policies was serious in Brazil, India and South Africa but even in China credit fuelled investment has led to a surge in public debt that will burden the official and shadow-banking system," he said.

The fifth reason, which ails the BRICS economies (specifically China and Russia), according to Roubini, is the absence of demographic dividend as the population is ageing for a number of reasons. Lower population growth is associated with lower potential growth, he observed.

Sixth, many BRICS may end up in the middle-income trap, failing to progress to a higher trajectory, Roubini said.

"Solid institutions, good governance and appropriate macro policies, mobilisation of savings, capital and labour inputs can lift an economy from a low per-capita income to middle-income status, but transitioning into a developed market is much more difficult," Roubini said.

The economist, however, believes there are reasons for being optimistic about prospects of BRICS for future growth.

"First, they are all large economies with large populations and markets, and three out of five still benefit from a demographic dividend.

"Second, in spite of the delays in the last decade, most may eventually shed a model of state capitalism and implement structural reforms that increase potential growth" he said.

Roubini stated that thirdly the macro weaknesses that some of them faced are solvable.

Besides, some secular forces are still in BRICS favour such as urbanisation, industrialisation and the catch up from low per capita income, among others, he added.

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