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Nigeria raises insurers' capital requirements; DR Congo names new prime minister

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Nigeria raises insurers' capital requirements; DR Congo names new prime minister

* The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development slashed its 2019 estimates for global growth to 3.2% from the 3.3% growth projected in March, citing vulnerabilities from global trade tensions, increased policy uncertainty and a slowdown in China.

* Staff at global capital markets firms will fall by roughly 400,000 to 1.7 million between now and 2030 due to the rise of artificial intelligence and automation, Financial News reported, citing estimates from consultancy Opimas.

* Investment bank Renaissance Capital named Omar Gaafar vice president for investment banking in Cairo. Gaafar will be in charge of Egypt and the Middle East and Africa region.

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* A planned multibillion-dollar debt sale by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has only attracted tepid interest from banks, insiders told Reuters. The waning interest could mean the country would have to begin paying higher rates for sovereign debt, the news agency noted.

* The IMF suggested that Saudi Arabia could increase the rate of value-added tax to help boost revenues and reach its fiscal targets, Argaam reported.

* Saudi British Bank, Bank AlBilad, Saudi Investment Bank and Banque Saudi Fransi, in partnership with the Saudi National Payments scheme, have rolled out Apple Pay services to credit card holders beginning May 21, Argaam reported.

* Bahrain-based reinsurer Trust International Insurance Co. BSC has said replacement funds are on the way from its parent after its delayed 2017 financial statements revealed a $92.5 million hole in its solvency capital.

* Ajman Bank PJSC, in collaboration with Rasmala Investment Bank Ltd, has announced the launch of Makaseb Real Estate Investments, domiciled in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, Khaleej Times reported.

* The United Arab Emirates' Securities and Commodities Authority has referred the case of violators of an unspecified Dubai-listed company to the public prosecutor due to violations related to the acquisition of companies that are suspected to involve interaction of personal interest, which led to the magnification of the value of the acquired company, Emarat Al Youm reported.

* Oman's Capital Market Authority has issued new regulations on takeover and acquisitions for Muscat Securities Market-listed public joint stock companies, Muscat Daily wrote.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Ltd. will hold its IPO in early July, insiders told Calcalist. Current estimates for the listing reportedly put the bourse's expected valuation at 600 million Israeli shekels to 650 million shekels.

* Iran's central bank has extended the deadline for selling shares of five merged banks and credit institutions — namely Ansar Bank, Bank Hekamt Iranian, Mehr Eqtesad Bank, Ghavamin Bank and Kosar Credit Institution — for 15 working days, to June 13, the Financial Tribune reported.

* Lebanon's central bank provided funds to the finance ministry to repay a $650 million U.S. dollar-denominated eurobond that expired May 20, insiders told Reuters.

* A draft banking law could increase the minimum capital requirement for Egypt's banks to 5 billion Egyptian pounds from 500 million pounds, Bloomberg News wrote, citing the Middle East News Agency. National Bank of Egypt Deputy Chairman Yehia Abou Elfotouh said the move could lead to mergers and acquisitions for small lenders unable to raise capital, while ensuring banks' sustainability and boosting their financial foundations. Banks will reportedly have three years to comply with the terms of the law, which still has to be approved by parliament.

* Egyptian financial services firm EFG-Hermes Holding SAE has reached a partnership agreement with Vietnam's Asia Commercial Bank Securities that will allow EFG-Hermes' clients to access the Hanoi Stock Exchange, Ho Chi Minh City Exchange and UPCOM using Asia Commercial Bank Securities' platform, Daily News Egypt reported.

* Societe Insurance Brokerage Egypt Sales and Marketing Director Abdel Rahman Raslan said the company intends to tap Gulf markets in 2020 as part of plans to expand in the Arabian Gulf region, Amwal Al Ghad reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* The Central Bank of Nigeria retained the monetary policy rate at 13.5%. The regulator also retained the cash reserve ratio and liquidity ratio at 22.5% and 30%, respectively.

* Nigeria's National Insurance Commission said it more than tripled the minimum capital requirements for insurers in a bid to improve the sector's risk management, Bloomberg reported. Existing firms are required to comply by June 2020, while the requirements are effective immediately for new companies. The requirement for insurers wanting to combine life and property and casualty businesses was increased to 18 billion naira from 5 billion naira, while that for property and casualty business was raised to 10 billion naira from 3 billion naira. The requirements for life insurance and reinsurance was raised to 8 billion naira from 2 billion naira, and to 20 billion naira from 10 billion naira, respectively.

* Mary Uduk, acting director-general of Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission, said West African regulators have drawn up draft guidelines on cross-border issuance of fixed-income securities and a mutual recognition agreement for the region, Punch wrote.

* Old Mutual Ltd. unit Old Mutual General Insurance Co. Nigeria Ltd. has partnered with online real estate market hub Newhomes.ng to develop digital insurance products for property owners and homeowners, Punch reported.

* Moody's assigned ratings to Stanbic Bank Uganda Ltd., including foreign- and local-currency long- and short-term bank deposit ratings of B3/Not Prime and B1/Not Prime, respectively, with a stable outlook on the long-term ratings.

* The Ivorian Minister of Economy and Finance Adama Koné said that the Ivory Coast is expected to achieve an economic growth of 7.5% in 2019, up from 7.4% in 2018, Agence Ecofin reported. The growth is in line with forecasts by international donors, including the World Bank and the IMF.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to remain in his role for at least one more year as he is in the best position to ensure the country will preserve market stability and continue to deal with its debt burden, insiders told Bloomberg.

* South Africa's justice ministry said former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang will be extradited to Mozambique rather than to the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reported. Chang has been indicted in the U.S. over his alleged role in arranging $2 billion in fraudulent debt that drove Mozambique into a financial crisis.

* Former Democratic Republic of the Congo Finance Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba was named the country's new prime minister, the Financial Times reported, citing state television. Agence Ecofin also covered.

* The Bank of Botswana has expanded the mandate of the country's sovereign wealth fund, including allowing it to invest in more currencies and buy stocks, to help ensure the nation does not miss out on lucrative investment opportunities, Bloomberg reported, citing Matthew Wright, the central bank's head of financial markets.

* The Angolan government is concerned about the alarming numbers of nonperforming loans in the market, the highest amount in Africa. Angola Press said that between 2015 and 2018 the number of toxic loans doubled, corresponding 26% of all loans contracted until July 2018. Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA has the most critical situation. In September 2018, 82% of the bank’s credit portfolio corresponded to nonperforming loans. The institutions, as well as the state, are working to get stricter regulations for the concession of credit as well as to recover unpaid loans.

* Zimbabwe's newly launched RTGS dollar traded 31% weaker against the U.S. dollar yesterday after the country's central bank ended a subsidy on fuel imports and said oil firms will start buying U.S. dollars on the open interbank market at the prevailing exchange rate, Reuters noted.

* The $500 million loan that Zimbabwe's central bank took out to support interbank currency trading and address a shortage of U.S. dollars was secured from the African Export-Import Bank using platinum production as collateral, an insider told Bloomberg. Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube previously said the loan was obtained from international banks, which he did not identify.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: 4 Indian banks eye potential M&A deal; Chinese bank opens Prague branch

Europe: Nationwide CFO retiring; Tesco Bank exits mortgage lending; HSBC's China push

Latin America: Grupo Aval Q1 profit up 27.6%; Jamaica cuts key rate

North America: 2 Arkansas banks in deal; SEC again postpones decision on bitcoin ETF

Global Insurance: Insurers to fund MGM Vegas shooting bill; Voce withdraws nominees; Safe Auto IPO

Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.