The S&P cut South Africa to junk, according to Bloomberg.
And the South African rand is tumbling. It’s down by 1.9% at 13.6823 per dollar as of 11:39 a.m. ET.
The downgrade reflects the agency’s view that the divisions of the ANC-led government that have led to changes in leadership — including the recent sacking of the finance minister — have put policy continuity at risk, S&P said, according to Bloomberg.
Moreover, the agency said the outlook is “negative,” which reflects its views that political risks will remain elevated this year, and that the country might see policy shifts that would “undermine fiscal and economic growth outcomes more than S&P currently projects.”
South African president Jacob Zuma fired his well-respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week during an overnight Cabinet shuffle. The rand rumbled by about 5% in the aftermath.