S. Africa: Anticlimactic downgrade tells us little new

Given the scale of ongoing global market turbulence, Moody’s decision to strip South Africa of its last investment grade rating will have less immediate effect than some had feared. That said, the country’s already grim debt outlook has deteriorated significantly given the sharp fall in GDP likely this year.
John Ashbourne Senior Emerging Markets Economist
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Africa Economics Weekly

Lockdown lessons from SA, influx of jabs and cash?

South African policymakers appear to be reluctant to impose restrictions in the face of the threat from the Omicron variant, but their hand could be forced if the health system comes under strain. In previous waves, measures have been tightened when hospitalisations have breached 5,000. While we’re some way off that, the figures are on an upwards path. Meanwhile, ambitious pledges by Africa’s key development partners including China and the EU on vaccines and infrastructure investment will lift the region’s longer-term economic prospects. Finally, even with the IMF on board, restoring Zambia’s debt sustainability will remain challenging.

3 December 2021

Africa Economics Update

Debt sustainability in Zambia: mission impossible?

Zambia’s new administration has made encouraging noises about restoring macroeconomic stability and addressing the country’s public debt problem. But it will be a tall order to secure a large restructuring and stick to the fiscal consolidation that will be needed to leave the public debt ratio on an even keel.

2 December 2021

Africa Data Response

South Africa Manufacturing PMI (Nov.)

South Africa’s manufacturing PMI rebounded last month, but the emerging fourth virus wave and the threat from the Omicron variant has clouded the outlook for activity in the sector and the wider economy.

1 December 2021

More from John Ashbourne

Africa Economics Weekly

Tumbling rand, coronavirus containment, default risks

The current risk-off sentiment means that the South African rand’s slide this week will probably continue in the near term. And escalating containment measures will take an economic toll, despite worries about their effectiveness. In the meantime, the coronavirus and low commodity prices are putting pressure on most African economies’ balance of payments positions and pushing many sovereigns closer to default.

3 April 2020

Africa Data Response

South Africa Manufacturing PMI (Mar.)

South Africa’s PMI jumped in March, but only due to a statistical quirk in the compilation process. The underlying data suggest that the economy was, in fact, weakening even before the recent lockdown.

1 April 2020

Africa Economics Weekly

Can containment work in Africa? IMF takes the stage

African countries tightened their coronavirus containment measures this week, which will add to economic disruptions. But it isn't clear whether these policies will be as effective as they have been elsewhere. Many governments are now looking to the IMF and World Bank as potential sources of aid.

27 March 2020
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