Monday, Feb. 01, 2010

Emerging Markets: Whoa, Have They Emerged

As a general rule, developing economies didn't have as tough a time in the recession as fully industrialized ones did. The pattern is holding true in the recovery too. The acronym everyone at Davos was tossing around to describe that phenomenon: LUV. Western Europe's recovery is L-shaped (a fairly sideways affair), while the U.S.'s is U-shaped (a bit better, but still slow to get going). By contrast, emerging markets like India, Brazil and China are seeing a V shape — a pronounced bounce back to normal. As such nations lead the global economy out of recession, a broader shift is afoot as well. No longer are emerging markets viewed as the world's riskiest — as one private equity chief said, the word "emerging" no longer even makes sense. Consumers in China and India are increasingly just as important for companies to court as those in Western nations. The trend also appears in the forum of ideas: At Davos, folks looking for advice on driving growth were as likely to turn to experts from Vietnam and Korea as they were to those from the U.S. and Europe.