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World Bank cuts SSA growth outlook; Bank Muscat's 9-month profit drops 4.9%

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World Bank cuts SSA growth outlook; Bank Muscat's 9-month profit drops 4.9%

* The World Bank revised its 2017 economic growth forecast in sub-Saharan Africa to 2.4%, down from the 2.6% initially projected in April. The region is projected to see a moderate increase in economic activity, with growth rising to 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019. Meanwhile, economic prospects in the Middle East and North Africa are projected to improve in 2018 and 2019 with growth exceeding 3%, despite a growth slowdown in 2017 at 2.1%.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Bank Muscat SAOG reported net profit of 130.3 million Omani rials for the nine months ended Sept. 30, down 4.9% from 136.9 million rials in the year-ago period.

* Fitch Ratings said liquidity for Saudi Arabian banks has improved significantly since last year, but the slowdown in the economy is likely to lead to muted credit demand and a rise in nonperforming loans.

* Data from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority showed that the central bank has licensed 34 finance firms by 2016-end, with a combined capital of about 12.3 billion Saudi Arabian riyals, Argaam wrote.

* Confirming recent media reports, Dubai-based SHUAA Capital PSC said subsidiary SHUAA Capital Saudi Arabia is in the early stages of rolling out a Saudi Arabia-listed real estate investment trust.

* The Abu Dhabi Global Market signed a memorandum of understanding with YES BANK Ltd. to further foster cross-border exchange between the financial technology ecosystems of the United Arab Emirates and India.

* Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said the administration is opposed to the devaluation of the Iranian rial against the U.S. dollar, as doing so "will have inflationary effects on other commodities, which is against the administration's macro policies," the Financial Tribune reported.

* The Iraqi Kurdistan regional government said it is willing to hold talks with the central Iraqi government regarding a dispute over Kurdish airports, border posts and banks, according to Reuters. However, the national government refused the offer, saying no talks on reopening airports and providing dollars to banks in the region would be held until the Iraqi Kurds commit to "Iraq's unity."

* Banque Attijari de Tunisie SA will sell 27,550 shares in the bank Oct. 16, Il Boursa reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Fidelity Bank Plc sold a $400 million eurobond on Oct. 11, an insider told Bloomberg News. The five-year notes mark the lender's first eurobond which, with a 10.75% yield, is the highest-yielding eurobond from emerging markets in 2017.

* Fidelity Bank received valid tenders for purchase of approximately $255.5 million in aggregate principal amount of notes pursuant to its tender offer to repurchase a $300 million series of 6.875% notes due May 9, 2018.

* Côte d'Ivoire's NSIA Banque will complete its IPO on Oct. 24, four months after the listing of 20.06% of its shares raised 34.5 billion CFA francs, Financial Afrik wrote.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago are meeting with rating agencies and international investors in Washington this weekend as part of efforts to improve economic growth amid political turmoil in their country, Reuters reported.

* Malawi-based First Merchant Bank Capital Holdings has secured all necessary regulatory approvals to acquire Barclays Bank Plc's majority stake in Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd., fin.24.com reported.

* Econet Wireless Zimbabwe's mobile money platform, EcoCash, suspended the use of its Mastercards for international transactions due to worsening foreign currency shortages in the country, The Financial Gazette wrote. International transactions will resume Nov. 1.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: US urges World Bank to inspect China lending; 3 Iranian banks eye India branches

Europe: EC clears Novo Banco sale; BAWAG IPO price range set; France probes Danske Bank

Latin America: Brazil warns against initial coin offerings; Chilean banks eye perpetual bonds

North America: JPMorgan Q3 net income up 7.1%; BofA signs Paris lease

North America Insurance: Trump executive order expected today; Medica suit over Minn. contracts dismissed

Leo Magno, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.