BRIC turns into B R I C?

Standard & Poor’s rating agency has cast doubt on the future prospects of BRIC, the world’s 4 best-performing emerging economies, saying the financial crisis has hampered the progress of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The term BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs bank in 2001 to describe the four economies, which had similar growth rates and prospects. The quartet may have once been the hungry pack breathing down the necks of the leaders, but now times have changed, S&P argues.

It thinks the most promising member of the group is China, a country with a relatively closed financial system, low national debt and diversified production.

“China is probably best positioned to find solutions, in particular fiscal stimulus, to withstand an externally driven crisis,” said S&P analyst Frank Gill.

Russia on the other hand suffered most from the decimated community prices and outflow of credit money. Even though it has considerable reserves, those are shrinking as the government is compensating the loss of liquidity in the financial system and resisting the rouble devaluation.

It may also be forced soon to use the money to bail out leading companies which didn’t hesitate to take out credit in the time of plenty and will soon have to pay it back, S&P says.

India and Brazil stand between these two extremes, according to the agency’s report. Depending on how the four countries manage to overcome economical trouble, they may even deteriorate further and make the term BRIC meaningless, S&P concludes.

Some experts argue that while China and India, with their goods-oriented economies, may have performed better so far, commodities markets react to global market change. So as consumption and Europe and the US falls, so will the export of Asian countries. In the end they will suffer the blow in full and reach the same level of their commodities-producing counterparts Russia and Brazil.