October 17, 2019 / 6:42 AM / a month ago

South Africa's rand slides further as blackouts return

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 17 (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand inched lower early on Thursday, extending the previous session’s sharp drop as the latest nationwide power cuts by state utility Eskom renewed fears of credit ratings downgrades.

At 0610 GMT, the rand was 0.08% weaker at 14.9520 per dollar, after sliding as much as 1% to a one-week low 15.0550 in the previous session.

Eskom said break-downs at some of its coal-burning plants hit its power generation ability, forcing it to shave supply to the national grid.

Debilitating power cuts in February and March pushed first-quarter economic growth into contraction and raised the likelihood of South Africa losing an investment-grade rating.

Moody’s is the last of the big three credit rating agencies to have an investment grade rating on South Africa and is due to deliver its latest credit review on Nov. 1, two days after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni gives his mid-term budget speech.

Mboweni is set to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss policy proposals on how to grow the economy.

Bonds were flat in early trade, with the yield on the benchmark government issue due in 2026 steady at 8.265%. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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