MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Official data from Saudi Arabia's central bank showed that deposits at commercial banks hit the highest level this year in November, with the liquidity crisis dampening as the government liquidates foreign assets to pay its bills, Reuters reports. Bank deposits rose to 1.624 trillion riyals from 1.610 trillion riyals in October, the fourth straight month-over-month gain.
* The central bank governors of Iran and Kyrgyzstan met and discussed a number of issues, including forming a banking liaison to increase trade turnover.
* Iran's central bank on Saturday allowed some banks to trade in foreign exchange at a free market rate in a bid to unify exchange rates, Reuters reports, citing a statement on the regulator's website.
* Ahli United Bank BSC said Bahrain's central bank decided to submit a petition to the competent court for compulsory liquidation of Future Bank BSC (c), a joint venture between two Iranian lenders, Bank Saderat Iran and Bank Melli Iran Inc., and Ahli United Bank.
* Four top executives at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC are leaving the bank ahead of its merger with First Gulf Bank PJSC, insiders tell Reuters. Those leaving include Deputy Group CEO Abdulla Mohammed Saleh AbdulRaheem.
* Israel Discount Bank Ltd. named Uri Levin president and director of New York-based unit Discount Bancorp Inc. and recommended that he be appointed to the same roles at Israel Discount Bank of New York. The effective date of the appointment is yet to be determined, but will be no later than July 1, 2017.
* The board of directors of Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. approved a streamlining plan that will allow the early retirement of roughly 300 employees between 2017 and 2021, costing the Israeli lender an estimated 300 million shekels, which will be booked in the bank's 2016 year-end report, Globes reports. The plan is expected to save the bank 70 million shekels annually. Reuters also covers.
* The introduction of a new liquidity ratio for banks in Tunisia has seen outstanding Treasury bills growing at a monthly rate of 2.4%, La Presse says, noting Treasuries are the most liquid assets. Islamic banking products grew at an annual average of 23% between 2010 and 2015.
* Egyptian companies unable to repay U.S. dollar-denominated debts after the devaluation of the Egyptian pound will be allowed by the Central Bank of Egypt to set a fixed exchange rate with lenders, Bloomberg News reports, citing a statement from Federation of Egyptian Industries Deputy Chairman Tarek Tawfik. The central bank will also allow firms to repay their debts in installments over a period of one to three years. Ahram also has a report.
* The Central Bank of Egypt is setting up a 5 billion pound fund to finance the development of the tourism sector, with prominent banks such as National Bank of Egypt (SAE), Banque du Caire SAE and Banque Misr - SAE, taking part, Egypt Independent reports.
* Banque Misr saw its retail banking portfolio increase 53%, or 5 billion Egyptian pounds, since July 2015, Daily News Egypt says.
* United Bank (SAE) of Egypt signed a partnership protocol with the General Authority for the Suez Canal Economic Zone to provide banking services as well as financial and technical consulting for Egyptian and foreign investors willing to invest in the Suez Canal Area Development Project, Daily News Egypt reports.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* The National Bank of Rwanda lowered its repo rate to 6.25% from 6.50% to further support the financing of the economy by the banking sector. Headline inflation declined to 6.4% in November from 7.4% in October, and is expected to continue to decline in the coming quarter. Reuters has a report.
* Separately, Kenya's central bank said the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corp. will commence a third disbursement of funds to depositors of failed Imperial Bank Ltd. Verified depositors will get the funds from NIC Bank Ltd. Business Daily Africa has a report.
* Nigeria's government failed to meet its deadline to renew life insurance coverage for federal civil servants, which expired in August, Nigeria's The Guardian reports.
* Meanwhile, Jeune Afrique writes that Nigeria claims that it has cleared its civil service of 50,000 "ghost workers," who existed only to siphon public funds.
* The Uganda Revenue Authority reinstated KCB Group Ltd. unit KCB Uganda Ltd. to its tax payment portal.
* Ethiopia-based Nile Insurance Co. appointed Hailu Makonnen CEO, pending regulatory approval, Addis Fortune reports. Makonnen replaces Melaku Sissay.
* Development Bank of Ethiopia named former Minister of Education Shiferaw Shigute chairman of its board, replacing Ahmed Abitwe, Addis Fortune reports.
* Ethiopian lender Cooperative Bank of Oromia reported an eightfold decline in profit to 39 million birrs for 2015/2016 from 312 million birrs a year ago, raising concerns about the bank, Addis Fortune reports.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the sale in 2013 of $850 million in bonds issued by Mozambique and sold by Credit Suisse Group AG, JSC VTB Bank and BNP Paribas SA, The Wall Street Journal reports. The bonds were sold to fund a Mozambican state-owned firm's plans for tuna fishing, but the government later said the funds were also used to purchase military equipment.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: China suspends banks for illegal FX deals; Hannover Re to set up Indian branch
Europe: Monte dei Paschi needs more; BankNordik expects less; Deutsche Bank CET1 is set
Latin America: Peru to cut reserve requirements; Cuba's GDP shrinks 0.9%
North America: NYSE Arca's ETF listings shrink as funds switch to rivals
North America Insurance: Flood insurance needs rise; American United wins annuity contract
Xana Kakoty, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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