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The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) released a 104-page financial stability report on Tuesday in which it highlights that the country’s financial system has demonstrated resilience in the face of the unprecedented shock of Covid-19 containment measures. This was published on its website at best two business days after two ratings agencies caught analysts, and the National Treasury, off-guard by dropping the country’s grade further into junk status.
Anyone who works in publishing knows: even a small PDF of a few pages requires many hours of planning, writing, editing and design. The task of putting together a document of 100 pages and more becomes even more time-consuming and arduous when various elements require sign-off from a large group of people and collective agreement – as inevitably would have been the case at a bureaucratic entity like the Sarb.
The fine print in the SA Reserve Bank disclaimer confirms that the data and information in its financial stability report were accurate, at best, as of 1 October. But, as Andy Rissik, foreign currency expert at Sable International, underscored in an interview with BizNews this week: Friday’s downgrades indicate that market participants don’t share optimism that recently unveiled government plans to fix SA will be implemented or effective. SA is in a perilous situation.
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