Welcome to BURK, Europe's new economic power
You may not have heard of it and the acronym may sound a touch odd, but analysts at Russia's largest bank are convinced a new economic power is rising in Europe -- BURK.
Russia's Sberbank has coined the acronym for Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan (BURK) to put the most dynamic ex-Soviet economies into a group similar to the BRIC union of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
BURK's combined markets may account for little more than three percent of the world's gross domestic product.
But analysts at the state-run institution have officially adopted the term to describe a region that shares similar problems and could follow the same prescriptions to achieve growth on a par with China and Brazil.
The vast savings bank this week issued a novel report entitled "The BURK Countries. 2010 Results and 2011 Prospects."
The report's authors -- including the bank's Macroeconomic Research Centre Director Ksenya Yudayeva -- conceded that their term may not have the same ring as the BRIC acronym coined a decade ago by an analyst at Goldman Sachs.
But they brushed aside snickering comments and argued that the English word actually means "a very firm lump of solid ore."
"By this, we mean to say that we do not expect the necessary reforms in these four countries to follow a smooth course," said the study.
"Quite the contrary, these reforms will encounter significant resistance -- both political as well as administrative," it said.
Yet the acronym sounds disturbingly similar to the British English word "berk", slang for a "stupid person".
The report went on to admit that the group of nations that Russia is hoping to join into a closer union faces an uncertain future and that its outlook may be described as "moderately optimistic".
"The uncertainty level is very high," it added. "But this makes work and adopting business decision here all that much more difficult and interesting," it said.
© 2011 AFP