London – Fitch Ratings has downgraded the long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings (IDR) of FirstRand Bank Limited (FirstRand), Nedbank Limited (Nedbank), and The Standard Bank of SA Limited (SBSA), and the respective rated holding companies of the last two banks to “BBB-” from “BBB”.

The rating actions follow the downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign rating to “BBB-”; outlook stable on December 4, the ratings agency said in a statement on Friday.

Fitch also downgraded Absa Bank Limited’s (Absa Bank) and Barclays Africa Group Limited’s (BAGL) long-term foreign and local currency IDRs to “BBB” and “BBB+”, respectively from “A-”, as a result of South Africa’s country ceiling being revised to “BBB”.

The viability ratings (VRs) of FirstRand, Absa Bank, BAGL, Nedbank, Nedbank Group Limited (NedGroup), Standard Bank Group Limited (SBG) and SBSA had 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, as indicated by the sovereign downgrade. Their national ratings had been affirmed.

Investec Bank Limited (Investec Bank) and Investec Limited’s (Investec) IDRs and VRs had been affirmed at “BBB-” and “bbb-”, respectively. Their national ratings had been upgraded as Fitch believed that their creditworthiness relative to other credits in the country had improved in the downturn owing to a more resilient risk profile.

All outlooks were stable, reflecting the stable outlook on the sovereign.

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