Asha Speckman Economics writer

SA is like the proverbial cat with nine lives when it concerns Moody's - the international credit ratings agency that refuses to send our rating to junk status. Just over a week ago Moody's kept us on the edge of our seats as we nervously awaited our fate. Even if the agency was not going to lower SA's remaining investment-grade status to junk, some economists were confident it would downgrade the rating outlook to negative from stable. A ratings downgrade would be disastrous, especially at a time when rising fuel and electricity prices are set to add several hundred rands more to household expenses in coming months and wage increases are not mirroring the rise in costs. Mercifully, the Reserve Bank is expected to keep interest rates steady for this year and into next year, but a downgrade could alter that. The cost of borrowing internationally and domestically would increase for the government, consumers and businesses. The central bank would have to hike rates to tame any runaway ...

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