Fitch said the hike in earnings would offset weak growth and performance in the banks’ home market.
It said asset quality remained stable last year, despite a modest rise in average impaired loans ratios to 4.1 percent, compared with 3.4 percent at the end of 2017.
“The prevailing credit environment in South Africa will place pressure on retail and business banking; however, a material worsening in impaired loans ratios is unlikely,” Fitch said. “The threat to asset quality remains from direct and indirect exposure to troubled sovereign-owned enterprises and their high degree of connectedness to South Africa's economy.”
Nitrogen Fund Managers analyst Waldo du Plessis said local companies often experienced problems in other African markets and felt the banks’ regional forays “are more of a hindrance to their local operations”.