MINT is the acronym to identify new emerging countries with the best growth outlooks in the future of the world economy. These countries are Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. The economist, who invented this new acronym, is Jim O'Neil, ex Chief Economist of Goldman Sachs, who in 2001 also created the acronym BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The new O'Neil idea, seems to be confirmed in the recent economic analysis of the World Economic Outlook performed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The document published in October 2014, which examines the global economy developments, it explains that the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) have a gross domestic product (GDP) of 37.8 trillion dollars, compared with 34.5 trillion dollars of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States).
From BRIC to MINT. All terms for emerging countries
Originally, the first acronym refers to the emerging countries is used in 2001 by Jim O'Neill in the report of the Investment Bank Goldman Sachs entitled "Building Better Global Economics BRICs". The report described the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) to which later was added the "S" of South Africa, transforming the term in BRICS.
Jim O'Neil, however, has recently updated the classification of emerging markets with the addition of new actors for world economy. His argument is supported by some IMF data that show the growth rates of some economies, including MINT, with a growth rate of GDP similar or higher than Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy. (as shown in Table 1).
Table 1: Rise of the MINTs
The factors which guarantee the success and the rise of MINT countries are: availability of raw materials, including oil, natural gas, metals, ability to attract foreign investment and therefore know-how and jobs. In addition, Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey have a very large population that ensure sufficient workforce at low prices until 2050 and a strategic geographical position that guarantee access to relevant markets.
More pessimistic is the point of view of Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the crisis of subprime mortgages in 2007. He argues that it is difficult to imagine the MINT among the top 15 economies in the world considering their current status. The factors that have driven the BRICS growth (and that also characterize the MINT), such as the demographic situation, foreign direct investment (FDI) and the reallocation of resources from low-productivity sectors (agriculture) in the most dynamic sectors (industry and services), may not be enough. According to Roubini (see "Is the emerging market boom over?"), the recent slowdown in emerging markets, due to the decline in commodity prices, to the slowdown in the China GDP, to deficits in balance of trade, are structural issues that could be reflected also on MINT.
Mexico: key economic indicators
Despite the slowdown in global economic growth, Mexico has shown a rate of 3.9% in 2011 and 2012 confirming its dynamic economy. In 2013, growth was 1.2% and for end of 2014, the Mexican economy is expected to grow by 3.5%. The Mexican economy has shown strong dynamism in recent years, with a good performance in domestic consumption, investment and exports. Mexico has a strong public finances and a banking system with a good capitalization. It is a member of the G20, OECD and participates in free trade agreements with more than 40 countries, including the United States (NAFTA) and the countries of the European Union (EU-Mexico TLC). Mexico has a strategic geographical location, between North and Central America, in fact many companies choose the Mexico to enter in North American market. Strengths of the country: macroeconomic stability; wide availability of natural resources; geographic contiguity with the United States; many preferential trade agreements and work force young and qualified (46 million people). Weaknesses: unequal distribution of wealth; excessive dependence on assets linked to highly variable factors, such as oil, emigrants and tourism.
Tab. 2: Mexico key economic indicators
Indonesia: macroeconomic framework
The key macroeconomic data confirm the good performance of the Indonesian economy, which since 2008 continues to guarantee strong growth rates of GDP, more than 5% per annum. From 2008 onwards, Indonesia has shown high growth rates (+ 6% in 2008, 4.6% in 2009, 6.2% in 2010, 6.5% in 2011 and 6.4% in 2012). Since 2004, Indonesia has experienced stable growth rates over 5%, among the highest in Asia. Internal growth was driven by consumption (54.6% of GDP) and investment (34.9%). This allows Indonesia to depend less by international economy, compared to other countries in the near area, thanks to its resilience from downturns in foreign demand. Furthermore, with an estimated population around 240 million people, Indonesia is the largest country in South-East Asia. It is highly integrated with the countries of the ASEAN countries (Association of South-East Asian Nations). The economic growth, combined with the country's political stability, has helped to strengthen the confidence of international markets in the sustainability of this development in the medium and long term.
Tab. 3: Indonesia key economic indicators
Nigeria: the best economy of West and sub-Saharan Africa
Nigeria has a population of over 160 million people and, for GDP, is already the largest economy in West and sub-Saharan Africa, surpassing South Africa (BRICS countries). With economic growth driven to oil, the Nigerian economy is dependent on the oil sector for 95% of exports, 80% of the budget and an average of 40% to the GDP. In addition to oil, however, Nigeria is the 11th largest producer of gas. The debt / GDP ratio is 20.77%, below the 40% of sustainability threshold indicated by the IMF (also Nigeria was the first African country to pay the entire debt to the Paris Club). Inflation is under control, between 9 and 12% in the last two years. The Government is pursuing a protectionist policy for the domestic industry. Restrictions are adopted to imports or duties significant, especially on agricultural products.
Tab. 4: Nigeria key economic indicators
Turkey: Since 2002, high growth rates
Since 1999, Turkey has realized the adjustment program defined with the IMF, achieving important results. The country has shown high rates of growth since 2002, with the exception of 2008 and 2009 due to the international crisis, and in 2010-2011 has experienced growth rates among the highest in the world, respectively, 9.2% and 8 5%. Characterized by steady economic growth Turkey is also ranked 13th in 2012 among the most attractive economies in the world for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The country is characterized by a very solid banking system, based on stringent criteria after the crisis of 2001-2002. Even Turkey, like other countries MINT, enjoys a strategic location being a "natural bridge" between Europe, Asia and the Middle East (1.5 billion people to a value of 25 trillion dollars of GDP) and, according to ISTAT data, Turkey will also have a key role in the future energy supply routes. About trade agreements, it is important to note the existence of a 'Customs Union between Turkey and the European Union, in force since 1996, which has greatly contributed to making the EU the main trading partner of the country. Furthermore, according to the analysis of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the excellent performance of the turkish economic system, in the last decade, was due to structural reforms introduced by the EU accession process.
Tab. 5: Turkey key economic indicators
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BBC (2014) The MINT Countries: Next economic giants?, BBC News Magazine, January (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25548060)
DA ROLD V. (2014) Dopo i BRICS arrivano i MINT: emergenti pronti alla ripartenza nonostante la recente frenata, Il Sole 24 ore, Aprile (http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2014-04-07/-brics-arrivano-mint-emergenti-pronti-ripartenza-nonostante-recente-frenata--135648.shtml?uuid=ABPY008)
INFOMERCATIESTERI WEBSITE, (http://www.infomercatiesteri.it/)
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (2014) World Economic Outlook, World Economic and Financial Surveys, April (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2014/01/pdf/text.pdf)
O’NEILL J. (2013) From BRIC to MINT, Business standard, November (http://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/jim-o-neill-from-bric-to-mint-113111301201_1.html)
RAPPORTI CONGIUNTI AMBASCIATE/CONSOLATI/ENIT 2015
ROUBINI N. (2013) Is the emerging market boom over?, the Guardian, July (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/23/emerging-market-boom-over-nouriel-roubini)
Editor: Giovanni AVERSA