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JOHANNESBURG, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's downgraded South Africa's local debt by one notch to BBB on Friday but kept the country's sovereign credit rating unchanged at BBB-, one level above "junk" status, while saying the economy was still struggling.
S&P retained its negative outlook on the sovereign unchanged, it said in a statement. The rand gained more than 1.5 percent against the dollar after the ratings release.
About 90 percent of South Africa's 2.4 trillion rand ($173 billion) debt is held in local currency, and the cut could see the country fall out of global bond indices, preventing institutional investors from buying its debt.
$1 = 13.9158 rand Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Catherine Evans