South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Johannesburg - South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said he was keeping his fingers crossed in the countdown to a rating review by Fitch later on Wednesday, and called for more concrete action to revive the economy.

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Africa's most industrialised country was plunged into economic turmoil in December after President Jacob Zuma changed his finance minister twice in a week.

It has since avoided downgrades from S&P Global Ratings and Moody's, giving policymakers more time to implement reforms to grow the economy which is estimated to grow by less than 1 percent this year.

Ratings agencies were looking for action not plans, Gordhan told a conference in Johannesburg, the country's commercial hub.

“Fitch will be announcing later today about whether we remain where we are in their books, so you can cross your fingers and hope they come up with the right answers,” he said.

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“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” he added.

Analysts say Fitch, which rates South Africa one step above speculative grade with a stable outlook, is likely to affirm South Africa's investment grade credit rating.

S&P said on Friday it was sticking to its BBB- rating on South Africa, one notch above non-investment grade. But it warned that its negative outlook reflected the potential adverse consequences of low GDP growth. Last month, Moody's kept its rating at Baa2.

Growth figures are also due on Wednesday, with economists polled by Reuters predicting South Africa's GDP shrunk 0.1 percent in the first quarter following a 0.4 percent expansion in the previous quarter.

Reuters