(Adds Gigaba's planned briefing, market prices, details)
JOHANNESBURG, April 4 South Africa's rand, bonds
and banking shares tumbled sharply on Tuesday after S&P Global
Ratings cut the country's credit rating to junk in response to
President Jacob Zuma's move to sack its respected finance
Zuma's cabinet reshuffle has triggered public criticism from
within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and pressure
is likely to mount on the president after the credit agency
handed South Africa its first downgrade since 2000.
New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba is due to hold a news
conference later in the day.
Gigaba said on Monday he would pursue "tough and unpopular
choices" to oversee a redistribution of wealth to the black
majority, a stance echoing recent comments by Zuma. No details
of the changes have been made public yet.
The one-notch downgrade to BB+, S&P's highest non-investment
grade, will almost certainly force Africa's most advanced
economy to pay more to borrow its from international markets and
possibly and may fall off global investors' radar screens.
"This sovereign downgrade will lead to a steep erosion of
already poor levels of investor confidence," Cas Coovadia, head
of the banking industry lobby group said.
"Negative investor confidence will directly undermine an
economy already struggling to achieve the levels of growth
needed to meaningfully create jobs or lift our population out of
Moody's also said late on Monday that it was placing South
Africa on review for downgrade, and that it would assess the
likelihood of changes in key areas of financial and
macro-economic policymaking following Zuma's cabinet changes.
The rand weakened as much as 1.9 percent before
recovering to trade 1.2 percent lower at 13.8400 per dollar.
The Johannesburg Securities Exchange's banking index
slumped as much as 4.2 percent, while the yield for the
benchmark government bond due in 2026 rose 16 basis
points to 9.140 percent.
(Reporting by Joe Brock and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by