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In 2001, the BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - would be the engines of economic growth. These four countries demonstrated enough political stability, population growth, and openness of trade to warrant being acclaimed as the economic superstars of the next decade.
They were named the best investments to make to play global growth. And they delivered.
The gross domestic products (GDPs) of BRIC countries have grown, on average, 6.4% since 2004, compared to around 1.5% for the G-7. The major market indexes for Brazil, Russia, India, and China posted average growth of 154% between 2004 and 2012. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index, by contrast, grew approximately 28% over the same period.
But a catchy new acronym is gaining traction and points to the next big opportunity in emerging markets.
Four emerging markets - Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey - make up the MINT economies. Like BRIC before them, these four are expected to outpace the developed world over coming years.
MINT countries will be to the next 20 years what BRIC was to the last 20.
Like BRIC, MINT is the creation of former Goldman Sachs Asset Management Chairman Jim O'Neill.
It's a subset of what he calls the "Next 11" - the larger sequel to BRIC that O'Neill thinks will be the next big emerging markets. In addition the MINT, the Next 11 includes South Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
These countries are all represented in the mutual fund O'Neill created, the Goldman Sachs N-11 Equity Fund (GSYAX). The fund opened in 2011, and is up 6.5%, year over year. It has also outperformed the fund set up to track the BRIC economies (GBRAX) since January 2012 by about 20%.
Originally, MINT was MIST; O'Neill dropped South Korea in favor of Nigeria in October.
O'Neill has reasons to be bullish on MINT and Next-11. Not least of them being that MINT has kept pace with BRIC for the last four years, and is expected to narrow the gap by 2018.
According to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook, average GDP growth for BRIC from 2009 to 2012 was 5.0%. The growth, however, was lopsided, driven largely by India and China. Average growth through 2018 for BRIC is projected to be around 5.4%, again driven heavily by China.
The MINT economies, on the other hand, grew at an average of 4.7% from 2009 to 2012 and are projected to grow at around 5.2% through 2018.
Although these four countries are quite disparate - MINT is a shorthand, not a political bloc - they share one important feature...