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Fitch cuts S.Africa’s credit rating to ‘junk’

Ratings agency Fitch said Friday it had cut South Africa’s credit rating to junk status, citing the recent political instability prompted by a controversial cabinet reshuffle.

The agency downgraded the country’s sovereign debt rating from ‘BBB-‘ to ‘BB+’ but kept the outlook stable.

It said the downgrade reflected the view that “recent political events, including a major cabinet reshuffle, will weaken standards of governance and public finances.”

Already earlier this week, another rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, also reduced South Africa’s rating to sub-investment, as the country’s currency, the rand, slid after President Jacob Zuma ousted his finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.

Fitch said that, in its view, the cabinet reshuffle, which also included deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, “is likely to result in a change in the direction of economic policy.”