Reprieve from S&P, for now

26 May 2019 - 00:09 By ASHA SPECKMAN

S&P Global Ratings kept SA's ratings outlook steady on Friday as was widely predicted, giving President Cyril Ramaphosa an opportunity to deliver on his reforms.
Both the local and foreign currency ratings remain at junk with a stable outlook. S&P said that with the elections behind the ANC, reforms can now gain momentum.
But it said it could lower the ratings if fiscal deterioration continued, "for example due to higher expenditure pressures, the crystallisation of contingent liabilities, if economic performance structurally weakened or if external financing pressures mounted". It also warned that if the rule of law, property rights or enforcement of contracts were to weaken significantly, undermining the investment and economic outlook, the rating could be lowered.
The macroeconomic outlook for SA remains poor, and Eskom is a big factor.
Azar Jammine, chief economist at Econometrix, said there was a "big fear" of more power cuts this winter.
"There is no real quick fix," he said. "The best thing the Ramaphosa administration can do is press ahead with the restructuring, to show they are trying to do something about it."
Fitch and S&P first rated SA junk in 2017.

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