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Emerging Perspectives

South Africa clings on to its investment-grade rating

1 April 2019
Authors: Nazmeera MoolaHead of SA Investments, Grant WebsterPortfolio Manager, Fixed Income

South Africa has made it through another scheduled Moody’s review to retain its local currency investment-grade rating with a stable outlook.

The news will come as a relief to the country’s finance minister, whose first budget speech made a sizeable allowance for the struggling utility giant, Eskom, but risked irking the rating agency by lacking any concrete turnaround plan for the energy producer.

As we wrote last month, Moody’s had previously said that it would only view meaningful government support for Eskom as credit-neutral if it were accompanied by an immediate cost-reduction plan that could be implemented imminently.

It seems the tough stance taken by the National Treasury was enough to appease Moody’s

The National Treasury has made it clear that any future transfers to Eskom (or any other state-owned entity) would come with conditions attached. It also made great efforts to offset much of the cost of this bailout by cutting costs in the later years of the budget, particularly through the reduction in the wage bill. Evidently this was sufficient to appease Moody’s and help it to overlook the economic burden of recent rolling blackouts blighting the country.

Across some of our strategies we are positioned relatively cautiously in South African assets given the fragility of an economy weighed down by struggling state-owned companies and weak long-term growth dynamics, which the recent blackouts have further exacerbated.

 

Emerging market (inc. China): These markets carry a higher risk of financial loss than more developed markets as they may have less developed legal, political, economic or other systems.

Nazmeera Moola
Nazmeera Moola Head of SA Investments
Grant Webster
Grant Webster Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income

Additional Information:

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an offer, or solicitation of an offer, to buy or sell securities. All of the views expressed about the markets, securities or companies reflect the personal views of the individual fund manager (or team) named. While opinions stated are honestly held, they are not guarantees and should not be relied on. Investec Asset Management in the normal course of its activities as an international investment manager may already hold or intend to purchase or sell the stocks mentioned on behalf of its clients. The information or opinions provided should not be taken as specific advice on the merits of any investment decision. This content may contain statements about expected or anticipated future events and financial results that are forward-looking in nature and, as a result, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, such as general economic, market and business conditions, new legislation and regulatory actions, competitive and general economic factors and conditions and the occurrence of unexpected events. Actual results may differ materially from those stated herein.

All rights reserved. Issued by Investec Asset Management, issued April 2019.

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