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Fitch Ratings has downgraded the Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) and Viability Ratings (VRs) of five South African banks - Absa Bank Limited, FirstRand Bank Limited, Investec Bank Limited, Nedbank Limited and The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited - to 'BB' and 'bb', respectively. The Outlook on all the IDRs is Negative.

Fitch has taken similar rating actions on the Long-Term IDRs and VRs of four South African bank holding companies, namely Absa Group Limited, Investec Limited, Nedbank Group Limited and Standard Bank Group Limited. All National Long-Term Ratings and debt ratings (where applicable) have also been downgraded. The Outlook on the National Long-Term Ratings is revised to Negative from Stable.


The rating action is driven by the expected negative impact from the coronavirus outbreak on the banks' operating environment and key financial metrics, notwithstanding uncertainty as to the full economic and financial market implications.

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