The one thing that still stands between SA and a credit rating downgrade to full junk status is the credibility of the Treasury team. Whether that would be enough to sway Moody’s — the only one of three credit ratings agencies that still has SA on investment grade rating — remains to be seen. Moody’s has always been more accommodating of SA, on numerous occasions seemingly going out of its way to give us a break. That, however, may be about to change. In a rather pointed statement on Thursday, the agency made clear its concerns on the budget presented by finance minister Tito Mboweni the day before. Moody’s pointed at many areas of concern about the budget. In particular Moody’s is concerned about the slow economic growth, the R69bn bailout to Eskom, and the resultant breach of the expenditure ceiling. SA will also record a fiscal deficit of 4.5% of GDP, up from 3.6% in the 2018/2019 budget. The “persistent financial stress at state-owned enterprises” is also of great concern for th...

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