Hilary Joffe Columnist
Ratings agency S&P Global Ratings. Picture: REUTERS
Ratings agency S&P Global Ratings. Picture: REUTERS

SA will have to wait until late 2018 to see whether it can do enough to boost its economic growth rate and fix its public finances to persuade the most sceptical of the three ratings agencies to look at restoring its investment-grade rating, after S&P Global Ratings on Friday kept its rating on SA unchanged.

S&P, which in November cut SA’s foreign-currency rating to two notches below investment grade, on Friday affirmed its stable outlook on the rating and gave the new Ramaphosa administration credit for pursuing economic and social reforms. But it signalled that it would have to see a "significant and sustained" improvement in economic growth and fiscal outcomes before it could raise the ratings.

S&P director Ravi Bhatia said SA’s per capita growth rate was still very low and had been negative for several years, and SA’s public-debt trajectory was still going up on a net basis.

In an interview on Sunday Bhatia said: "One would need to see higher growth on a per capita basis and that in turn will help the fiscal framework."

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