The rand was little changed on Thursday morning amid a lack of fresh drivers. TreasuryOne dealer Phillip Pearce characterised the muted price action as the “calm before the storm”, pointing to looming ratings decisions by S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s on the SA’s sovereign debt. “Not only is S&P in the country but Moody’s have made an unscheduled visit, which should set the alarm bells off that a downgrade may happen sooner than later,” Pearce said in an e-mailed note. The relative stability in the rand comes after two weeks of intense volatility, caused mainly by the medium-term budget policy statement, which economists said increased the chance of a credit downgrade. By some estimates, SA could lose at least R100bn in bond outflows if the country’s local-currency debt is downgraded. The immediate effect could play out in a much weaker rand and local bonds, a scenario that could force the Reserve Bank to consider increasing interest rates. But some analysts argue that markets, whi...

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