Lack of risk management exposes BRIC economies – survey

BRIC_nations.jpgRapidly growing BRIC emerging economies are subject to external shocks as they lack adequate risk management and must synchronise fiscal and monetary policies, a survey of finance ministry officials showed.

The survey, released in January by consultancy Booz & Company, said the role of finance ministries has expanded far beyond its traditional fiscal mandate and ministries must reform so that they are not overly driven by interventions, near-term fiscal targets and benchmarking against local peers.

South Africa had not yet been invited to join the BRIC countries when the survey was conducted.

Booz polled more than 60 policymakers in finance ministries in the Group of 20 and other key economies, along with officials from the IMF, World Bank, European Union and OECD, academic institutions and think tanks.

Brazil, China, India and Russia – the powerful BRIC group of emerging nations – rebounded fast from the financial crisis, but the survey warned of shortcomings which could pose risks in the future.

“Russia is vulnerable to swings in the price of oil, Brazil to commodity prices, and India and China to global demand. China faces the additional risk of potential changes in currency policy, which could have ramifications for its trade position,” Booz said in the survey.

It said these economies will face volatile swings within the economic cycle, often requiring corrective measures with high costs, unless the economic management functions within these countries are coordinated via a larger framework.

“This being the case, an overall framework for coordinated action is a priority for these economies,” the survey said.

It also said BRIC and other growth economies should quantify on- and off- balance sheet risks, including commodity prices, currency fluctuations, private demand, or financial exposure – and build them into policy decisions.

The survey said generally there was no one-size-fits-all solution for reforming today’s finance ministries with overstretched objectives.

But it urged them to move away from ineffective notions such as more government interventions, focus on near-term fiscal targets, and benchmarking against regional peers.


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