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S&P forecasts South Africa’s economy to shrink 4.5% in 2020

Covid-19 weighs on the economy.
Image: Bloomberg

S&P Global Ratings on Friday said it projects South Africa‘s economy to shrink by 4.5% this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted production and consumption.

In April, S&P downgraded South Africa‘s credit rating further into non-investment-grade territory, saying Covid-19-related pressures would have significant adverse implications for the country’s already ailing economy and for tax revenues.

It lowered its long-term foreign-currency rating on South Africa to “BB-minus” from “BB” and its long-term local-currency rating to “BB” from “BB-plus,” with a stable outlook.

“Covid-19 will weigh heavily on GDP growth given the strict domestic lockdown that has shut down much of the economy, the markedly weaker external demand outlook, and tighter credit conditions,” S&P said. “As a result, we now project the economy to shrink by 4.5% this year.”

The ratings agency projects growth of 3.5% for 2021.

South Africa‘s lockdown has entered its ninth week, leaving many businesses and individuals struggling without income in the recession-hit economy.

S&P said the weaker macroeconomic environment would also weigh heavily on fiscal revenues, projecting that the fiscal deficit would widen to 13.3% of gross domestic product in 2020 –the widest in the country’s democratic history.

S&P estimates net debt levels would rise to over 75% of GDP by the end of 2020.

“Our anticipation of an only tepid economic recovery means that public financing needs will likely remain elevated throughout the forecast period,” S&P said. “As a result, the net debt-to-GDP ratio is unlikely to stabilize within this timeframe, rising to 85% by 2023, raising questions around debt sustainability.”

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Only -4,5%? That’s like shutting down the full economy for only 15 days.

We’ve locked down a lot longer and inflicted some permanent damage. I’d be surprised if it was less than -15%

Even the governor of the Reserve Bank has predicted close to double of this amount-he is at 7%

End of comments.

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