Speaking in Hong Kong, he said Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa all have bright futures ahead of them: “Each has a large, young, growing population. Each has a diverse and dynamic economy. And each, in relative terms, is politically stable.”

If they imitate their BRIC predecessors – Brazil, Russia, India and China – who accounted for about half of global growth between 2000 and 2008, the Civets could provide a windfall for investors and confirm a shift in power from Western markets.

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However, some market analysts remain sceptical, citing bad government, large budget and payments deficits and high inflation rates as particular concerns. Certainly, inflation rates in Egypt and Vietnam at 10% and 12%, respectively, and budget deficits as high as 8.7% and 7.7% of GDP could discourage some investors.