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S&P Cuts S. Africa's Sovereign Rating To Junk Status

S&P Global Ratings lowered South Africa's sovereign ratings to junk status on Friday, and Moody's Investors Service placed the ratings on review for downgrade.

S&P reduced South Africa's credit rating by a notch to 'BB' from 'BB+' as weak GDP growth led to further deterioration of public finances. The agency raised its outlook to 'stable' from 'negative'.

S&P observed that economic decisions in recent years have largely focused on the distribution-rather than the growth of-national income.

As a consequence, South Africa's economy has stagnated and external competitiveness has eroded, it said.

The agency expects forthcoming 2018 budget in February to propose offsetting fiscal measures but these may be insufficient to stabilize public finances in the near term, contrary to previous expectations, S&P said.

Elsewhere, Moody's Investors Service placed the credit ratings of South Africa on review for downgrade, citing series of recent developments. The agency said economic and fiscal challenges of South Africa are more pronounced than Moody's had previously assumed.

Moreover, growth prospects are weaker and material budgetary revenue shortfalls emerged alongside increased spending pressures.

On November 23, Fitch Ratings had kept the sovereign ratings of South Africa at 'BB+' with a 'stable' outlook.

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