JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Ratings agency Moody's Investors Services said on Thursday that South Africa's growth will come in positive for 2018, but below 1 percent, following a surprise contraction in the first two quarters.
"Growth is going to be below 1 percent, to what extent it's difficult to say," Lucie Villa, Moody's senior analyst with the firm's sovereign risk group, told a presentation in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Villa expected South Africa to dodge a credit rating downgrade in the near future as the economy picks up, albeit slowly.
"We think things look fairly stable and see a small chance of a ratings move -- either up or down -- in the next eight months," Villa noted.
South Africa will have general elections next year, and that will weaken the country's business confidence, said the ratings agency.
Moody's is of the view that global growth will remain buoyant and that will also be positive for the country's economy.
However, Moody's cautioned: "There was pressure on the fiscus before the economic recession, and there will be even more pressure now."
Meanwhile, Moody's believes that South Africa's budget deficit will reach about 4 percent this year, higher than budgeted, but lower than 2017.
The government's debt burden, as measured by debt-to-GDP, will remain "broadly stable" at 55 percent.
"The country has a good track record of maintaining fiscal deficits," Villa said.