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The outlook for South Africa may not be all doom and gloom even as it followed Brazil and Russia into junk status this week, thrusting the case for emerging markets and their growth prospects into murky territory. In 19 years, S&P Global Ratings has downgraded 21 countries, and on Monday it lowered South Africa's creditworthiness to sub-investment grade for the first time since 2000 as it feared last week's cabinet reshuffle would put fiscal and growth outcomes at risk. In nearly two decades only six nations - Hungary, Slovakia, South Korea, Colombia, Latvia and Uruguay - have regained investment grade status after being downgraded to junk. Generally, according to KPMG and ratings agencies, it takes about seven years to regain investment grade. Following South Africa's downgrade, three of the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) now operate at sub-investment grade. Research by KPMG shows that over the past three decades 15 countries - including Colombia, I...

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