JOHANNESBURG - SA’s rand gained on Monday after Friday’s late-night decision by S&P Global Ratings to keep the country’s debt unchanged at sub-investment grade “BB’/‘BB+” with a stable outlook.
At 06:30, the rand was up 0.42 percent at R12.45 per dollar. It had traded above 12.50 before the S&P’s decision.
S&P’s said the stable outlook reflected its belief that economic growth would pick up in 2018, although public debt would remain worryingly above 50 percent of GDP.
In March, Moody’s kept Pretoria’s investment-grade credit rating and revised its credit outlook to stable from negative. Of the big-three ratings agencies, only Fitch has yet to give its rating update.
Traders warned that relief for rand may be short-lived, because dollar strength and geopolitical uncertainty meant markets remained wary of riskier assets.
Bonds rose, with the yield on benchmark debt due in 2026 down 2 basis points at 8.43 percent.
Stocks were set to open higher at 0700 GMT, with the Johannesburg Stock Exchanges’ Top-40 future’s index up 0.42 percent.
In early results releases, sugar producer Tongaat Hulett posted full-year profit fell 37 percent. The country’s biggest landline provider, Telkom, said full-year earnings declined 18.4 percent.