"Ultimately, when I price the bond I think of my kids: this is what they will have to pay," said a Treasury official this week after SA sold a record $5bn of bonds - about R75bn - on international markets, at favourable interest rates.

The bonds, part of the borrowing the government does to fund its deficit, included a 30-year bond which will have to be repaid in 2049 as well as a 10-year bond maturing in 2029. Both were issued at interest rates, or yields, that were significantly cheaper than the government paid when it issued bonds on international markets last year, which shows that investors reckoned the risk of lending money to SA was lower than last year so they were willing to charge less.

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