SA’s debt burden likely to keep rising, says Moody’s

By Siphelele Dludla 3h in the past

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Credit scores companies have remained unconvinced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget overview, expressing concern over South Africa’s rising debt ranges. Mboweni final week stated the nationwide gross mortgage debt would improve from R3.95 trillion within the present fiscal year to R5.2trln in 2023/24.

The South African authorities’s borrowing necessities are anticipated to stay nicely above R500 billion a year, with the debt stabilising at 88.9 p.c of gross home product (GDP) in 2025/26. However, the federal government now expects to report a consolidated Budget deficit of 14 p.c of GDP in contrast to its October forecast of 15.7 p.c.

Moody’s on Friday stated the marginally decrease deficits wouldn’t forestall the debt from rising as draw back dangers stay elevated over the general public sector wages and help to state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

The scores company downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit score scores standing deeper into junk territory in October with a detrimental outlook.

Moody’s senior credit score officer Lucie Villa stated they nonetheless anticipated that the federal government’s debt burden would rise to attain 100% of GDP by the 2024 monetary year.

Villa stated the tempo of discount in deficits was slower, given the federal government’s choice to withdraw R40bn of tax-raising measures and a milder recovery in income.

“Although we have also revised down our deficit forecasts, we continue to expect a slower pace of fiscal consolidation and wider deficits than the government based on our expectations of higher primary spending and interest spending,” Villa stated.

“Moreover, risks remain elevated that the government’s debt burden and affordability deteriorate significantly more rapidly than our baseline.”

Villa additionally stated uncertainty over the tempo of the financial recovery and the capability of the federal government to restrict spending remained elevated.

The financial system is anticipated to rebound by 3.3 p.c this year, following a 7.2 p.c contraction in 2020 and common 1.9 p.c within the outer two years.

However, Fitch Ratings expressed

related sentiments concerning the rising debt, saying the debt problem remained regardless of stronger revenues.

The authorities expects to gather R1.21trln in taxes throughout 2020/21, which is an enchancment of about R100bn from October estimate, however about R213bn lower than February Budget expectations.

Fitch’s head of Middle East and Africa sovereign scores Jan Friederich stated curbing wage progress can be politically difficult, particularly within the native elections calendar year.

Fitch additionally downgraded the nation’s credit standing from BB to BB- with a detrimental outlook final year.

“Government debt will continue to rise in the medium term, posing downside risks that are reflected in the Negative Outlook on the sovereign’s ‘BB-‘ rating,” Friederich stated.

“Meanwhile, the potential need to extend further financial assistance to troubled SOEs, including the ailing national electricity company Eskom, presents material downside risks to public finances.”


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