Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has told Parliament that the response so far from international ratings agencies to the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement he released on Wednesday was “not looking good”.
Moody’s, the only rating agency which still has South African debt at investment grade, is set to deliver its assessment on Friday.
Mboweni was briefing Parliament’s finance and appropriations committees on the MTBPS on Thursday afternoon.
The Finance Minister said that his mid-term budget review – which painted a bleak picture of the country’s finances – had not gone down well with international ratings agency Fitch.
“The ratings agencies are our friends and our tormentors. Fitch is really not impressed with us, they said that ‘You guys did not go far enough’. Moody’s has said they will release their view tomorrow and that they were looking very carefully at our fiscal stance. So, we will see what they say. At the most, I hope they keep the rating where it is but I will ask the ACDP to help me in prayers. But it is not looking good.”
Staff in National Treasury keep close contact with ratings agencies and were due to speak with them in the run-up to his release of the MTBPS on Wednesday but Mboweni said he asked them not to, this time.
“I asked them not to do it this time, knowing that we are in a very difficult situation and there might be misunderstanding and so on.”
Mboweni said that Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane would be engaging with the ratings agencies.
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