#RandReport: Rand weakens as Fitch cuts SA's outlook to negative

Fitch said that the economy of Africa’s most industrialised country may have started to recover but political risks remained.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The rand weakened on Friday after Fitch cut South Africa’s rating outlook to negative as it affirmed SA’s investment grade rating at one-notch above “junk”.

The unit dipped by as much as 0.4% shortly after the news from Fitch, before paring loses to 0.1% at 14.1525 as of 15:50 GMT.

Fitch said in a statement that the economy of Africa’s most industrialised country may have started to recover but political risks remained.

“The Fitch and Moody’s decisions are not the key focal points.

Markets were a bit mixed in their expectations, but what Friday’s decision does is shift the focus firmly on S&P’s,” said Nedbank chief economist Mohammed Nalla.

Moody’s, which has had South Africa two notches above sub investment grade, is due to announce an update late on Friday.

Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s), which rates South African debt on the lowest investment level with a negative outlook, will publish its decision next Friday on 2 December.
Bonds weakened on the day, with the benchmark adding 7 basis to 9.105%.

On the bourse, stocks ended slightly higher, helping the benchmark index notch up its third consecutive week of gains with gold mining shares in demand as weaker rand currency offset lower bullion prices.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index rose 0.29% to 44,208 and the broader All-share index was 0.27% higher at 50,696.

Gold Fields was up 3.38% at R44.98 and rival AngloGold Ashanti added 1% to R155.28.

Trading volumes were thin with 172 million shares changing hands, compared with last year’s daily average of 296 million shares.