The South African government this week admitted that critical structural reforms that will boost economic growth are underway in the country’s major economic sectors.
It said it recognised the need to steer South Africa’s economic growth trajectory onto a more robust course. It said government will keep to the expenditure ceiling set at acceptable levels. It will also reduce account deficit while stabilising government debt levels in the medium term.
The government made these commitments in the wake of ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch releasing their ratings on South Africa’s economy.
S&P has affirmed South Africa’s long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings at “BBB-/A-3”. The agency also affirmed the local currency ratings at “BBB+/ A-2” and maintained a stable outlook on the rating. S&P cited an expectation of a slight improvement in GDP growth in 2015-2017 for affirming the sovereign rating and an expectation that the National Treasury will keep to its “hard expenditure ceiling” and thereby contain fiscal deficits and general government debt levels in the medium term.
Fitch has affirmed South Africa’s long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings at ‘BBB’ and ‘BBB+’ respectively, and kept the outlook negative.
This decision retains South Africa’s rating two levels into investment grade.
The rating agency said the investment grade rating is a reflection of the fact that there were low rates of foreign-currency debt and deposit dollarisation. It said the floating exchange and inflation targeting regime helps the economy absorb shocks.