Why? Because there can never be too many acronyms. But seriously, learn these two; you’re likely to see more of them in the future. They both describe “shifting global economic fortunes,” according to a Wall Street Journal article (paywall).
BRIC has been around for a while. It refers to large but previously poor countries—specifically Brazil, Russia, India and China—which are now rapidly growing economies with plenty of natural resources that subsequently wield greater power. If BRICs are rising, then HIICs are their counterparts heading the other direction. “Heavily indebted industrialized countries” are those economic giants like the U.S., Europe and Japan that have been slipping due to questionable fiscal policy, overspending and the economic downturn.
From the NYT‘s Schott’s Vocab, quoting the WSJ piece: “[HIICs] are displaying the kinds of investment risks traditionally associated with global backwaters. ‘Developed markets are basically behaving like emerging ones,’ says HSBC’s Richard Yetsenga. And emerging markets are quickly becoming more developed.”