Briefing media at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) last week, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa listed a series of reforms the government, business and labour were working on but emphasised these were to advance SA’s interests, not to please ratings agencies: "We are doing it for us". It’s important to keep that in perspective as we navigate the cliffhanger that ratings agency season has become since SA was downgraded last year to the very edge of investment-grade status by two of the three major agencies, with the third (Moody’s) putting SA on a negative outlook. In the event, SA’s investment-grade rating has survived the first round more or less intact. Fitch changed its stable outlook to negative, so its rating is now identical to S&P’s at just one notch above subinvestment grade, "junk" status and on negative outlook. Moody’s, by contrast, declined to take any action at all and simply put out an updated opinion, so it is still two notches above junk s...

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