Foreign exchange traders appeared confident Moody’s will not cut SA’s sovereign credit rating to junk on Friday, with the rand slightly stronger at R14.57/$ at 6.30am.

The rand was trading at R16.91/€ and R19.29/£.

Moody’s is scheduled to deliver its latest verdict on SA’s sovereign rating on Friday night.

Of the big three credit ratings agencies, Moody’s is the only one to still rate South African government bonds above junk. It has held SA’s sovereign credit rating at Baa3 — equivalent to BBB- in the notation used by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch  — since June 2017. 

Moody’s raised its outlook on SA to stable from negative in March, making it unlikely the country will suffer a credit rating cut without the ratings agency giving the prior warning of first lowering its outlook back to negative.

With recently appointed finance minister Tito Mboweni scheduled to deliver his medium-term budget policy statement on October 24, Moody’s may announce it is delaying its verdict on SA for a few weeks.

S&P cut SA to its second tier of junk, BB, in November 2017 while Fitch rates SA at BB+, both with stable outlooks.

Chinese stocks halted nine days of losses on Friday morning after September balance of trade figures showed annual export growth at 14.5%, beating the economists’ consensus of 8.9%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallied 1.18%, with Tencent rising 5.1% to HK280.60.

Tencent’s 31%-owner Naspers rose 0.91% to R2,681.28 on Thursday, breaking a seven trading day losing streak.

BHP was up 1.26% to A$33.82 in Sydney, helping the ASX 200 index rise 0.11%.

Flooring group Accentuate said on October 5 it expected to report on Friday that its headline loss per share for the year to end-June worsened to as much as 17.5c from 1.37c in the prior year.