Brics economies not crashing: Economist
The Brics economies are not going to crash but are facing another difficult year, Standard Bank economist Jeremy Stevens said on Wednesday.
“The Brics had a challenging 2013 and will have a challenging 2014,” he said speaking via video link from Beijing, China. “The situation is not dire… (but) there is a lot of work on the table for the leadership.”
Brics is an association of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The biggest threat for Brics was coming from within because of China’s slow down.
Since 2008 gross domestic product growth had been the key focus for Chinese policy makers. However balance sheet scrutiny had not been done carefully, said Stevens.
Last year there was surging corporate debt in China. “As long as they (companies) are running and operating, they can continue to borrow.”
Cash flow was diminishing and it was unlikely that the debt was still serviceable, he said. “We are looking at a new China.” Growth in China was expected to slip from 7.6% last year to 7.1% this year.
Last year we estimated that Brics-Africa trade amounted to just less than US 350 billion.
Stevens said despite this it would be crazy for anyone to write off Brics, especially China and Brazil. The Brics contribution to global output had increased from 15 percent in 2009 to 20% last year and was well on track to account for 25% by 2019.
“All the changes that we expect in the pipeline over the next three to five years put the Brics on a much firmer footing,” he said.
Political economist Simon Freemantle said that despite this, trade between Brics and Africa continued to grow though at a softer rate than before.
“Last year we estimated that Brics-Africa trade amounted to just less than US 350 billion. This is a significant amount for Africa in relation to its other trading blocs,” he said.
This was up five percent from 2012. The growth was far slower but it was still growing, said Freemantle. Since the 2008 financial crisis the Brics output increased dramatically and now accounted for 20% of global output.
At the same time the Brics-Africa trade had lifted 70 percent in the last five years, which amounted to US140bn dollars. “So there has been US140bn dollars of new trade between Africa and Brics since 2008,” he said.
“China still accounts for the bulk of Brics-Africa trade.”
China’s share of the Brics-Africa trade last year was 61%, India 21%, Brazil eight percent, South Africa seven percent and Russia three percent.