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Egypt, South Africa hold rates; Ugandan banks in insurance foray

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Egypt, South Africa hold rates; Ugandan banks in insurance foray

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Egypt holds rates:The Central Bank of Egypt yesterday keptits overnight deposit rate unchanged at 11.75% and maintained its overnightlending rate and the rate of its main operation at 12.75% and 12.25%,respectively. Several analysts had forecasted that the central bank would hikeinterest rates to curb inflation.

* Egyptian banks arelooking at launching exchange bureaus to deal with the black market in foreigncurrencies, Al-Ahram reports.

* said it will study the offersit received for its stake in Aref Investment Group, a diversified investmentfirm 53% owned by KFH.

* Al-Ahlia InsuranceCo. said it has not received a firm offer from Solidarity with regard to an acquisition.

* Abu Dhabi-listedUnion National Bank -PJSC mandated a group of local and international banks for apotential bondissue, with the meetings scheduled to begin shortly in the Middle East, Asiaand Europe.

* BankHapoalim BM and London Stock Exchange Group Plc signeda memorandum of understanding over collaborating to support the development ofIsraeli high-growth businesses and promote LSE Group's ELITE business in Israel.

* Israeli authorities arrested four diamond dealers whoallegedly have undeclared accounts of nearly 100 million shekels at unitHSBC Private Bank (Suisse)SA as part of a probe into the Swiss unit, Reuters reports.All four have denied the allegations and were released after posting bail.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

Banks to take oninsurers in Uganda: Uganda's Insurance Regulatory Authority published draftregulations on commercial banks' sale of insurance products in an aim to boostinsurance penetration in the country, the DailyMonitor reports.Commercial banks were previously not authorized to sell insurance products.Insurance firms and brokers have raised concerns over losing their employees tobanks over the amendments, the paper notes.

* Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge cautionedcommercial banks against introducing new banking products or fresh transactionfees, or even raising existing charges, without its authorization, Business Daily writes.Njoroge warned that the central bank will investigate and apprehend banks thatdisregard its directive.

* Meanwhile, BusinessDaily notesthat commercial banks in Kenya were forced to borrow 28 billion shillings atpunitive rates from the central bank in October last year and sell 64 billionshillings in government securities at a loss to meet liquidity demandsfollowing the collapse of Imperial Bank Ltd.

* The National Economic Council, Nigeria's state advisorybody, called on the central bank to adopt a "special monetary policydictated by consumer price and exchange rate" to address inflation and thecountry's currency rate, Reuters reports,citing Yetunde Onanuga, deputy governor of Ogun state. The central bank onTuesday kept its benchmark interest at 14.0% despite calls from the financeministry to cut lending rates.

* Ivory Coast'sstate privatization committee said it has not picked the company to which itwill award the state's 51.6% stake in Banque de l'Habitat de Côte d'Ivoire, Jeune Afrique reports,noting that Banque del'Habitat of Tunisia recently said it was buying the stake. Financial Afrik also covers.

* Following an internal audit, a number of senior managementchanges took place at Banque Atlantique Mali, Jeune Afrique writes.CEO Mady Compaoré stepped down and was replaced by Dotian Bamba, previouslydeputy director of Banque Atlantique Benin. Gaoussou Mariko, deputy director ofBanque Atlantique Mali, and Director of Exploitation Awa Cissé, have alsostepped down.

* Raoul Gufflet,deputy director of MauritiusCommercial Bank Ltd., said the institution wants to become a"relationship bank" for African lenders rather than a competitor, Financial Afrik writes.It is seeking strategic partnerships with other African banks, CEO Pierre GuyNoel said.

* Bank of Tanzania Governor Benno Ndulu and Lawrence Mafuru,statutory manager of FBME Bank Ltd., are facing jail time if they fail toexplain a decree for payments of more than 92 billion shillings in favor ofCoast Textiles Ltd., Daily News reports.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

South Africa holds rates:The South African Reserve Bank yesterday kept its repurchase rate unchangedat 7.0% per annum, after seeing improvements in the inflation forecast and aweak domestic economic outlook. The central bank noted that headline consumerprice inflation declined to within the target range of between 3% and 6% inAugust, in line with its expectations.

* South African health insurer will have to wait forat least two years before it is granted a license to set up a retail bank,ITWeb says.A Sunday Times report noted that theinsurance firm has set aside 1 billion rand for the digital infrastructureneeded for the new bank.

* Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos welcomed thebreakthrough in the negotiations between Banco BPI SA and . After BPI offereddos Santos control of Banco deFomento Angola SA, owned until now in majority by BPI, she saidthat now both institutions will have the chance to consolidate their positionsin their respective local markets, TVI 24 reports. Reuters also covers.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific:FSC to reveal Mega Bank's NY branchaccounts; China to crack down on fake overseas M&A

Europe:New offshore leaks; higher BancoBPI offer; Banca Generali eyes FinecoBank

LatinAmerica: New head for BTG's privateequity biz; Argentina plans euro bond

NorthAmerica: Leon Cooperman prepareshis defense; payday lenders get hit in Canada, California

NorthAmerica Insurance: DOJ broachesAnthem-Cigna merger dispute; The Hartford's Talcott Resolution up forsale

Xana Kakoty, HenniAbdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle Eastand Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external linksmay require a subscription.