Fitch downgrades several South African banks

Dec 16, 2015

It blamed "the weakening economic and operating environment".

Rating agency Fitch Ratings has downgraded the ratings of several South-African banks, with a stable outlook.

FirstRand Bank, Nedbank, The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (SBSA) have seen their long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings (IDR) downgraded to 'BBB-' from 'BBB'.

Fitch has also downgraded Absa Bank's and Barclays Africa Group Limited's (BAGL) long-term foreign and local currency IDRs to 'BBB' and 'BBB+', respectively from 'A-'.

The Viability Ratings (VRs) of FirstRand, Absa Bank, BAGL, Nedbank, Standard Bank and SBSA have also been downgraded to 'bbb-' from 'bbb', reflecting "their concentration to South Africa, large holdings of government securities, high exposure to sovereign-owned enterprises and the weakening economic and operating environment".

However, Fitch said that Investec Bank and Investec Limited's IDRs and VRs have been affirmed at 'BBB-' and 'bbb-', respectively.

This announcement follows Fitch's downgrading of South Africa's debt to 'BBB -' due to concerns about the slowing economy and rising debt.
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