Hilary Joffe Columnist

Will Moody's downgrade us on Friday? And if it does, how much will it matter? Most people, in the investment community at least, expect a Moody's downgrade before the end of this year. Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that this was the expectation of almost 60% of the corporations and investors polled at its recent investor conference at Sun City. Chances are that Moody's, which last year put SA back on "stable" outlook amid Ramaphoria, will put us back on "negative" outlook ahead of a downgrade later this year, after the May election or after October's medium-term budget. In theory, the rating agency, which is the only one of the big three that still has SA on investment grade, could go straight to cutting the rating itself, without warning. In practice, a rating agency that has to do this all of a sudden looks like it had its eye off the ball, and Moody's, which in recent years has twice put SA on review for a downgrade but then pulled back, is likely to be extra careful this t...

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