* Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements invited the central banks of Kuwait and Morocco to join the institution as it expands its membership for the first time since 2011, Bloomberg News reported. South Africa will also be represented at the BIS' Committee on the Global Financial System and the Markets Committee, while Saudi Arabia was invited to join the global financial system committee.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* France's BNP Paribas SA and U.S. lender Citigroup Inc. are among global banks with higher exposure to Saad Group and A. H. Algosaibi & Bros. Co., two Saudi Arabia-based family holding companies that defaulted on roughly $16 billion in 2009, according to documents seen by Bloomberg News. Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC and Mashreqbank PSC are also exposed.
* Qatar National Bank (QPSC)'s full-year 2019 profit attributable to equity holders rose 4% year over year to 14.35 billion riyals from 13.79 billion riyals. The bank also proposed a cash dividend of 60% of the nominal share value for the period.
* Tom Kalaris, former wealth management head at Barclays PLC, told a London court that the British banking group's former CEO, John Varley, decided to split payments to Qatar into two portions during a controversial capital hike during the 2008 financial crisis, Bloomberg News wrote. This marked the first time Varley was identified as the decision-maker in the controversial move.
* Banks in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are set for lending growth in 2020 but higher earnings would be slow as lower interest rates pressure profit margins, according to Bloomberg. UAE banks could also gain more as they expand regionally while their Saudi Arabian peers could see a demand for home loans amid a government-backed mortgages program.
* Saudi Arabia Capital Market Authority's board of commissioners authorized Securities Clearing Center Company (Muqassa) to provide securities clearing services in the country, and to be designated as a qualified central counterparty.
* First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC issued $500 million in Islamic bonds, or sukuk, according to a document seen by Reuters. The notes are being marketed at a profit rate equivalent to 90 basis points over mid-swaps.
* A U.S. judged adjourned the sentencing against Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, the former managing partner of The Abraaj Group, to on or before Aug. 1, Arabian Business reported. The sentencing was initially scheduled on Dec. 27, 2019.
* The board of directors of Abu Dhabi National Insurance Co. PJSC has recommended to the general assembly to allow the company to buy up to 10% of its shares.
* Kuwait Investment Authority has invested $500 million in Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s IPO, Al-Jarida reported, citing close sources.
* Bahrain Bourse BSC (c) published its new listing rules, which aim to clarify the regulatory and organizational framework governing all operational aspects of the stock exchange, particularly future listings. The new rules will be effective immediately, allowing for companies currently listed on the market a grace period of three months to abide by the rules' requirements.
* Bahrain National Holding Co. BSC, the parent company of Bahrain National Insurance Co. BSC (c) and Bahrain National Life Insurance Co., appointed Massoud Badr deputy CEO, Al Watan reported. The company also appointed Eman Majali managing director of Bahrain National Insurance Co.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* France, Germany and the U.K. decided to refer Iran's noncompliance with the 2015 nuclear deal to a joint commission, formally launching a dispute mechanism. The three countries said they hoped to preserve the deal and that the goal was not to implement "maximum pressure" against Iran, a campaign that is widely followed by the U.S.
* Protests erupted in Lebanon again yesterday with demonstrators calling for more government action on a worsening financial and economic crisis, Bloomberg wrote. The protesters also rallied outside the country's central bank. The bank employee union also warned that it could force another strike to close bank branches if the protests persist.
* Lebanon-based Bank Audi SAL has received interest from lenders to acquire its Egyptian unit, Bank Audi (SAE), and could sell the unit if it gets the right offer, CFO Tamer Ghazaleh told Reuters. Ghazaleh added that the Lebanese bank will also proceed with an equity increase as instructed by the central bank to help lenders weather the country's financial crisis.
* Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Egypt said it has not received a request from Bank Audi to sell its Egyptian subsidiary, Reuters reported.
* Banque de Tunisie et des Emirats SA raised more than 33 million Tunisian dinars in a recent bond issue, according to Il Boursa.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed the appointment of Ukur Yatani, currently acting finance minister, to keep the job permanently amid a wider cabinet reshuffle, Reuters wrote. Kenyatta also called on the central bank to prevent predator lending and give more affordable credit to small and medium-sized enterprises.
* The costs incurred by KCB Group PLC in acquiring National Bank of Kenya Ltd. has risen to 13 billion shillings after its 5-billion-shilling capital injection in December, Business Daily Africa wrote.
* Kenya traded its first green bond on the Nairobi stock exchange on Jan. 13, Financial Afrik reported. The bond will then be traded on the London Stock Exchange.
* The Central Bank of Nigeria postponed its first monetary policy meeting for 2020 to Jan. 23 and 24 from Jan. 20 and 21, without giving any reason for the change.
* Access Bank PLC saw some shareholders offload their stake following speculation that Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission recently arrested Group Managing Director Herbert Wigwe, Business Post reported. The bank has clarified that Wigwe was merely invited to clarify issues on some assets held by a client.
* Ghana's circuit court granted a 110-million-cedi bail to Prince Kofi Amoabeng, the founder of the collapsed UT Bank Ghana Ltd., who is facing charges of stealing and money laundering, Joy Online reported. Amoabeng allegedly stole over 51.3 million cedi and $8.6 million.
* Côte d'Ivoire plans a 55 billion CFA franc bond issue on the West African financial market, Agence Ecofin reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* A South African High Court ruled yesterday that Old Mutual Ltd. is not required to reinstate its former CEO, Peter Moyo, noting that the interim order to get Moyo back in office should not have been ordered in the first place, Reuters reported. Moyo has been in a dispute with the insurer after he was fired for alleged conflicts of interest. He said his team would likely appeal the High Court's decision.
* Moody's withdrew the Baa2 insurance financial strength rating of Old Mutual Life Assurance Co. (South Africa) Ltd. citing business reasons. The outlook was negative at the time of the withdrawal.
* The South African Reserve Bank is widely expected to maintain its key repurchase rate at 6.5% during its monetary policy meeting this week in spite of a tame inflation and high unemployment rate, according to Daily Maverick.
* South African consumer finance business RCS Cards (Pty.) Ltd. intends to acquire a portion of non-food retailer Edcon Ltd.'s book debt and its cardholders' book debt owned by Absa Bank Ltd. South Africa's Competition Commission did not find any competition concerns regarding the deals and recommended that they be approved unconditionally.
* Angolan central bank Governor José de Lima Massano said kwanza banknotes are expected to start circulating in Angola by the end of the first semester of 2020, Macauhub wrote. Massano also said the pictures in the new notes will only have the face of the first president of Angola, António Agostinho Neto.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Thai bank eyes Myanmar bank stake; Australian banks want tighter fintech rules
Europe: Possible new Wirecard probe; Danske job cuts; Credit Suisse fossil fuel defense
Latin America: Integration for 3 LatAm bourses studied; Banco BV IPO scheduled for April
North America: JPMorgan's Q4'19 profit up YOY; Visa, Plaid in $5.3B deal
Global Insurance: Aussie bushfire losses jump; cyber tops business risks; Iran crash payout
Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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