Foreigners Can’t Resist South African Debt. That’s a Problem

Foreign investors just can’t resist South African bonds — that should worry policy makers in Africa’s most-industrialized economy.

Non-resident holdings of the country’s debt climbed to 43 percent in March from 41 percent at the end of December, according to National Treasury data. That’s almost double the emerging-market average, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. figures.

When it comes to fixed-rate securities, which constitute 82 percent of South Africa’s 1.76 trillion rand ($140 billion) of government bonds, the proportion of foreign ownership is 51 percent.

Rising, rising

Foreign ownership of South African bonds has quadrupled since 2007

Source: National Treasury

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