SA will have to keep a careful eye on its balance of payments and fiscal deficits, and move closer towards political stability, if it wants to hold on to its investment grade credit rating in 2017. This is because ratings agency S&P Global Ratings will have to resolve its negative outlook on the country’s credit rating within 12 months — by either changing it to stable or downgrading it. S&P held back from downgrading SA’s rating to sub-investment grade, or junk, status on Friday. It kept its rating on SA’s debt on negative outlook. While the S&P decision meant SA has managed to keep its investment grade rating with all three major rating agencies, it also means the country is now on notice for a downgrade by all three.Fitch changed the outlook the week before to negative on its rating, which like S&P’s is just one notch above subinvestment grade. Moody’s declined to take any action on SA’s rating last month, keeping it on negative outlook but two notches above subinvestment grade. ...

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