Standard & Poor’s affirmed Botswana’s credit rating and gave the country a negative outlook, reflecting the risks over the next 12 to 18 months if the current diamond-sector slump proves more structural than cyclical in nature.
The agency said it maintained its ‘A-/A-2’ long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for the country.
Even so, S&P forecast diamond prices will recover gradually in the medium term. It predicted 3 percent economic growth in real terms in 2016, taking into account the Botswana government’s Economic Stimulus Programme, which will boost spending mainly on water works and electricity to redress these constraints on growth.
The announcement comes as Botswana’s rough diamond exports have registered successive declines, with outbound shipments dropping 1.8 percent in the first half of 2015 and falling 5 percent in August.