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S&P says stimulus plan doesn’t affect stable South Africa outlook


JOHANNESBURG   – A senior analyst at ratings agency S&P Global said on Friday that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stimulus plan did not affect the stable outlook on the country’s sovereign rating.

Ramaphosa said last week that his government would use 50 billion rand ($3.5 billion) of “reprioritised expenditure and new project-level funding” to boost growth after the economy fell into recession in the second quarter.

His government also unveiled a new regulatory charter for the mining industry, a crucial step to attracting further investment to a sector laid low by depressed prices and soaring costs.

“The package has some good initiatives focusing on job creation and infrastructure. And the changes to the mining charter are positive in nature,” Ravi Bhatia, a director of the sovereign ratings group at S&P, told Reuters.

“It seems like the plan will not impact upon the fiscal bottom line but rather do reallocations and focus on implementation,” Bhatia added. “Our ratings are currently on stable outlook.”

S&P currently rates South Africa’s long-term foreign-currency debt ‘BB’, in “junk” status.

Moody’s and Fitch said earlier this week that Ramaphosa’s stimulus package was unlikely to have much impact on growth.

Moody’s is the last of the “big three” international agencies to rate South Africa’s long-term foreign-currency debt at investment grade.

($1 = 14.0939 rand)(Reuters)

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