The apparent turnaround in Africa’s fortunes over the past decade has been attributed to the rise of China and its insatiable appetite for African commodities. So African policymakers, like those everywhere, will have been relieved by the recent uptick in Chinese economic data.
Watchers of ratings agencies might be wondering if a golden period of steady credit upgrades for emerging economies is coming to an end. This week brought a ratings downgrade for Egypt and an outlook cut for Turkey. Hungary is teetering on the brink of having its rating cut to junk. Across the emerging world, countries are struggling with weaker growth, still-high inflation and falling investment. Debt ratios are rising. All this could bode ill for sovereign credit ratings.
No sign at a Fitch Ratings briefing today that things will get much better this year for emerging market debt. The 100 or so mainly industry attendees were asked to give their thoughts using a machine not unlike the “Ask the Audience” gadget seen on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.