The failure by Moody’s Investors Service to take a more decisive view on SA’s deteriorating performance has confounded many South Africans and at least half of all economists, who were braced for an outlook downgrade at the end of March. Many are battling to understand how Moody’s could allow itself to fall so far behind the curve and still retain credibility. How is it possible that Moody’s continues to believe, while South Africans increasingly do not? A scary 2019 budget followed by prolonged stage-four load-shedding seemed to suggest, by the end of March, that the wheels were coming off the SA economy. Surely Moody’s would see this, South Africans reasoned, and join S&P Global Ratings and Fitch in junking SA’s rating — a move the other two ratings agencies made two years ago? Things got even more confusing when Moody’s finally released a rating update, revealing that its growth and debt projections for SA had worsened and were decidedly more bearish than those of the Treasury....

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