South Africa Deregisters Fitch, Ratings Valid for 4 Months

  • Deregistration has no impact on South Africa sovereign rating
  • Fitch rates South Africa debt BBB, with negative outlook

South Africa’s Financial Services Board deregistered Fitch Ratings’ local unit as a credit-rating company, making its assessment on the nation’s debt invalid in four months.

Fitch Southern Africa requested that its registration be canceled, the FSB said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. Ratings issued by Fitch will be valid for four months, it said.

“The cancellation of the registration means that Fitch Southern Africa, or any other Fitch office or entity, will no longer issue credit ratings for regulatory purposes in South Africa,” the FSB said.

The deregistration has no implication for South Africa’s sovereign rating because that rating is handled by Fitch internationally, Phumza Macanda, a spokeswoman for the National Treasury, said by phone. Fitch holds a negative outlook on the nation’s sovereign rating of BBB, which is two levels above junk, and was due to publish an assessment in December.

Fitch confirmed its decision to withdraw its FSB registration of its South African subsidiary, according to an e-mailed statement by Fabrice Toka, a senior director for Fitch Southern Africa in Johannesburg. Toka didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and phone calls seeking further clarity.

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