The countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China viewed as a group of emerging economies with large potential markets. —adj.
Standard Life believes that, by 2050, China will be the second largest market in the world, with 25 per cent of global capitalisation while India will have 10 per cent. The stock markets of the BRICs (Brazil Russia, India and China) could collectively be as large as the US, Japan, the UK and Germany put together.
"Time to be bullish over China stocks," Investment Adviser, February 9, 2004
When investment gurus devise acronyms to describe up-and-coming markets, ordinary investors do well to beware.
Remember the vogue for describing technology, media and telecom stocks as TMT? The acronym in vogue now is Brics, which means Brazil, Russia, India, and China. It's shorthand for big markets with supposedly outsized growth prospects.
The starting point for the boom in "Bric awareness" was a report by two Goldman Sachs economists in October last year*. It concluded that by 2050 China's dollar gross domestic product could be 30 per cent bigger than that of the US. It also said that India's could be four times the size of Japan's, while the figures for Brazil and Russia could be at least 50 per cent bigger than the UK's.
Peter Temple, "How solid are the Brics?," Financial Times (London, England), February 7, 2004
Jim O'Neill, "Building Better Global Economic BRICs," Global Economics Paper No. 66, November 30, 2001
The image underlying this acronym is the brick, meaning we're supposed to think of the nascent economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China as being akin to building blocks that, if the rosy forecasts come true, will form the foundation of the global economy in the decades to come.
As Stephen Booth points out in the comments, there's also the acronym BRICK for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and (South) Korea, which dates from about 2005:
GDP per capita is low, however; at just $652US it is ranks well outside the world's top 50 countries. Among the BRICK countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea), India's total GDP in US$ is estimated to overtake that of Korea in 2005, to move up into second place behind China.
—"India In The World - Financial Indicators," India Pharmaceuticals Market 2005, April 7, 2005