Image by Sandeep UnnithanlThe leaders of five of the world’s largest emerging markets will showcase a new currency reserve fund and development bank this week. Critics say neither is enough to revive the group’s waning clout.
Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known as the BRICS, will approve the creation of the $100 billion reserve fund and $50 billion bank at a July 15-16 summit in Brazil’s coastal city of Fortaleza and the capital Brasilia, President Dilma Rousseff and other officials said last week. Negotiators are still trying to agree on shareholding in the bank, according to three Indian officials who requested not to be named because the talks were not public. India wants member stakes to be based on contributions not on economic weight.
The initiatives are born out of frustration with a lack of participation in global governance, particularly in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said Arvind Subramanian, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The measures aren’t big enough to boost growth or cohesion in the group as foreign investor sentiment sours and member states focus on issues close to home, such as Brazil’s elections, the conflict in Ukraine and new economic policy plans in India.
“It’s hard to see a lot of impetus at this stage for the BRICS in general and for these initiatives in particular,” Subramanian said by telephone from Washington. “There’s going to be a lot of attention on domestic issues.”