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S&P rating decision welcomed by pundits

Late on Friday night, the agency kept the country's sovereign credit ratings unchanged at below investment grade.

FILE: Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The decision by Standard & Poor’s Global to keep its rating unchanged has been welcomed in many quarters, but the National Treasury insists that hard work lies ahead to get the ratings into positive territory.

Late on Friday night, the agency kept the country's sovereign credit ratings unchanged at below investment grade.

Moody’s is the only agency of the big three, to have its ratings in investment grade.

S&P says that in the wake of the elections, the government is likely to focus more on new policy initiatives that will aim to support firmer economic growth and reform state-owned companies.

The agency has affirmed the country's long-term foreign currency debt rating at BB and its local currency debt rating at BB+.

The outlook for both ratings is stable.

The agency says the stable outlook reflects the view that, with the elections now over, the government will pursue some reforms and attempt to improve economic growth and try and contain fiscal deficits.

But it says its ratings are constrained by the weak pace of growth, something that needs to be addressed.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)