O’Neill favours Russia over ‘expensive’ India

Jim O’Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is eyeing China and Russia as the most attractive BRIC countries while shunning “expensive” India.

Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), O’Neill flagged up China and Russia as his BRIC favourites but said India was still “relatively expensive”, CNBC reported.

Russia has been heavily criticised for its barriers to growth in terms of demographics. It has one of the world’s lowest birth rates, leading to a shrinking population, and a lower life expectancy rate than the developed world.

However, O’Neill said this trend is reversing, and he has been encouraged by president Dmitry Medvedev’s pledge to crack down on corruption and improve Moscow’s financial reputation.

“He was more specific than he usually is about changing things. He itemised six specific policy steps that are going to be introduced. He was expressing a determination for doing quite a lot about it,” O’Neill said.

Russia is a major player in the commodities markets, but O’Neill is confident that it can diversify beyond this asset class.

“In technology, Russia is actually pretty strong. They are now talking to us in a positive, creative way. In social content and the internet they are some of the best around the world,” he said.

O’Neill was also positive on China: “China’s trying to deal with everybody, that’s why China is so interesting.”

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