The rand had one of its best days since the latest sell-off in emerging markets started, surging to a two-week high after a rate hike in Turkey fuelled demand for higher-yielding assets and Moody’s Investors Service signalled it is unlikely to downgrade SA’s debt. Moody’s, the last major ratings agency with an investment grade on SA’s debt, saw only a "small chance of a ratings move — either up or down — in the next eight months," Lucie Villa, a senior analyst with the firm’s sovereign risk group, said in Johannesburg on Thursday. A downgrade by Moody’s of long-term foreign-currency debt into junk status would see the country falling out of key gauges tracked by investors, forcing them to dump more than R100bn of assets. Such a fire sale would cause the country’s bond yields to surge and the rand to extend its 16% decline against the dollar in 2018. "We think things look fairly stable," Villa said, adding that the economy, which shrank in the first six months, was likely to eke out ...

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