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UAE banks mull real estate lending cap; Commercial Bank's Q3 profit up YOY

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* The United Arab Emirates Banks Federation has proposed a cap on banks' real estate lending to protect them from overexposure to the sector, Reuters reported, citing Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair, the group's head. Al-Ghurair, who is also chairman of Mashreqbank PSC, said local banks will review and provide feedback on the proposed limits.

* Qatar-based Commercial Bank PSQC reported third-quarter net profit of 1.50 billion Qatari riyals, up from 1.35 billion riyals in the same period in 2018.

* The Saudi Arabian government issued $2.5 billion of sukuk yesterday in its first international debt sale following an attack on its oil facilities in September, Reuters reported. Saudi Arabia said it also sold a separate 7.27 billion riyals of domestic sukuk.

* Saudi Arabia-based Alinma Bank reported third-quarter net profit of 713 million riyals, up from 637 million riyals a year earlier. For the nine months to Sept. 30, the bank's net profit increased year over year to 2.03 billion riyals from 1.81 billion riyals.

* Moody's affirmed the Baa2 insurance financial strength rating of Saudi Arabia-based Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co. and changed the outlook to stable from positive.

* UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. plans to invest $250 million in technology companies in the Middle East and North Africa through two funds, Reuters reported, citing Ibrahim Ajami, head of Ventures at Mubadala Capital.

* UAE-based payments company Finablr PLC and U.K.-based telecommunications firm Airtel Africa PLC entered into an extensive global partnership that will see Airtel's mobile money operations integrated with Finablr's technology platform and global network to facilitate inbound and outbound cross-border payments.

* U.K.-based payments firm Transferwise Ltd. has secured a license from the Abu Dhabi Global Market's Financial Services Regulatory Authority to launch a money transfer platform in the UAE, cofounder and CEO Kristo Käärmann told Thomson Reuters' Zawya. The company expects to launch the platform in early 2020.

* National Bank of Bahrain BSC said it has completed the confirmatory financial and legal due diligence exercises related to a potential voluntary offer for shares in Bahrain Islamic Bank BSC and that discussions are still ongoing. Bahrain Islamic Bank, meanwhile, said it has not received any formal voluntary takeover offer National Bank of Bahrain.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Lebanon's central bank will waive coupon payments from the treasury as part of the government's efforts to bring down its budget deficit in 2020 to 0.6% of GDP, Bloomberg News reported, citing Nadim Munla, a senior adviser to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Meanwhile, Munla said the government expects positive reactions from foreign donors on the state's agreed reforms, according to Reuters.

* The Association of Banks in Lebanon said local banks will remain closed today due to an ongoing unrest, Reuters reported, citing Lebanese broadcaster LBCI. Meanwhile, banks have assured clients that they could still withdraw money from ATMs despite the continued closure, The Daily Star wrote.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed Commercial International Bank (Egypt) SAE's B+/B long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings and assigned the lender a bank stand-alone rating of "b+", a core financial strength rating of "bbb-" and an extraordinary support level of Moderate, with stable outlooks on the long-term foreign-currency rating and bank stand-alone rating.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Inc. and Airtel Africa PLC signed a partnership aimed at improving Airtel Money and Ecobank customers' access to mobile financial services.

* Ivorian insurer Génération Nouvelle d'Assurances has raised its share capital by 3 billion CFA francs in cash to 6.5 billion CFA francs, Agence Ecofin reported.

* NSIA Banque Côte d'Ivoire has finalized its incorporation of the Ivorian assets of NSIA Banque Benin, formerly Diamond Bank du Benin SA, through an increase in share capital, Agence Ecofin wrote.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South Africa-based Standard Bank Group Ltd. cut the value of its 40% stake in U.K.-based ICBC Standard Bank PLC to $220 million from $383 million, citing a decline in the company's ability to deliver appropriate returns due to deteriorating market conditions and lower than expected client flows. Despite the adjustment, which resulted in an impairment of 2.4 billion rand to the group's earnings attributable to ordinary shareholders, Standard Bank said attributable profit for the nine months to Sept. 30 rose 2% year over year. Standard Bank noted that it is in talks with ICBC Standard Bank and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., which owns the remaining 60% stake, to determine the future of the business.

* South African financial services firm Ecsponent Ltd. and MyBucks SA signed amended agreements for Ecsponent's acquisition of 27,829,313 shares in the Luxembourg-based financial technology company for a subscription price of roughly €27.8 million, or 450 million South African rand.

* Angola's central bank has halted the use of a trading band that restricted the kwanza's value from moving more than 2% at currency auctions after it began allowing the currency to trade more freely at several auctions this month, insiders told Bloomberg News. A spokeswoman for the regulator confirmed that it has stopped using the trading band.

* The IMF reached a staff-level agreement with Equatorial Guinea on three-year financing agreement for the country.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China considers replacing HK chief; India banks face US$50B shortfall says Fitch

Europe: UBS Q3 profit falls 16%; Santander unit sells for $1B; BNP buys Allfunds stake

Latin America: Clash over Bolivia election results; Chile extends scope of state of emergency

North America: Raymond James cuts trading fees; Puerto Rico banks in deal

Global Insurance: Calif. blocks Applied Underwriters deal; Dallas tornadoes; Centene earnings

Sheryl Obejera, 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.