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Mboweni positive about upcoming Moody’s ratings review

Experts had long warned of a downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign outlook to junk status if there are no drastic economic reforms.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in Parliament for his Budget Speech on 26 February 2020. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the speculation around the looming assessment by credit ratings agency Moody’s raised the need for the country to get its “house in order”.

Mboweni made the remarks on Thursday while briefing Parliament’s finance committee, a day after tabling the 2020 Budget.

Experts had long warned of a downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign outlook to junk status if there are no drastic economic reforms.

But Mboweni said given the austerity measures announced in his Budget speech, he didn’t expect the ratings agency to react in any untoward way.

“I don’t know but I don’t think that they will rerate us on the basis of the fiscal stance. I’m positive that they may give us a bit of a slap, which we will absorb because we have already slapped ourselves, but I don’t think they will do anything untoward,” Mboweni said.

Moody’s is the last of three agencies to have the country a notch above junk status. It was expected to announce its assessment of South Africa’s economic outlook early next month.