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Slide to Junk Halted as Fitch Holds South Africa Rating

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South Africa’s slide toward junk status was given a breather as Fitch Ratings Ltd. and Standard & Poor’s looked past increasing government debt and sluggish economic growth to keep their assessments of the nation’s creditworthiness unchanged.

South Africa avoided the year’s third downgrade after Fitch kept its rating at BBB, the second-lowest investment grade, on Dec. 12, saying fiscal tightening plans laid out in October should stabilize debt ratios. The outlook was held at negative. Fitch is in line with Moody’s Investors Service and one step above S&P, which kept a stable outlook on South Africa’s credit rating the same day.