* S&P Global Ratings lowered its GDP forecasts for most emerging markets, saying that overall emerging markets' growth will be the weakest in a decade at 4.4% in 2019 amid trade frictions and domestic policy uncertainties in some cases. The agency expects Saudi Arabia's real GDP to now contract about 0.4% this year, compared to a previously expected growth, driven mainly by a fall in oil production because of an OPEC deal and the attacks on oil facilities in September.
* Saudi Arabia postponed the launch of Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s planned mega-IPO for a few weeks to give banks acting as advisers time to include the firm's third-quarter results in their pre-IPO assessment valuations, insiders told Bloomberg News. The advisers are reportedly struggling to meet Aramco's $2 trillion valuation goal. Environmental groups, meanwhile, wrote to the CEOs of the banks involved in the planned IPO that what could be the world's largest IPO would result in "the biggest single infusion of capital into the fossil fuel industry" since the 2015 Paris climate accord, The Guardian reported.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC launched a rights issue of up to 6.45 billion United Arab Emirates dirhams, in which it would offer 758,823,529 new shares at 8.50 dirhams each, to underpin its international expansion. The transaction would increase the Dubai-based lender's total issued share capital to at most 6.31 billion dirhams from 5.56 billion dirhams at present.
* International General Insurance Holdings Ltd. COO Hatem Jabsheh said improving trading conditions in the global insurance market led to the Dubai-based insurer's tie-up with Tiberius Acquisition Corp. The company is also applying for a license to set up a European unit in Belgium that it expects to generate more business than its current U.K.-based European operations.
* Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud appointed Ayman bin Mohammed al-Sayari as a deputy governor of the country's central bank, according to Saudi Press Agency.
* Qatar Islamic Bank QPSC received preliminary approval from the Qatar Financial Markets Authority to carry out financial services activities, which it will conduct through a new wholly owned unit.
* Noor Financial Investment Co. KPSC said the head of internal auditing, Mahmoud Mohammed Mahmoud Habash, has resigned from the position.
* The Securities House KSCP's board of directors recommended increasing the company's paid up and issued capital through the issuance of 105 million shares.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Morocco's Banque Centrale Populaire acquired a 71% stake in Madagascar-based Banque Malgache de l'Ocean Indien SA from French lender Groupe BPCE, Reuters reported. In September last year, BCP and BPCE kicked off exclusive talks about the acquisition of some of the former's African units.
* Egypt's central bank imposed tighter regulations for banks lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, including regular credit limit declarations, loan aggregation and regulatory recommendations, Daily News Egypt reported.
* The Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority granted three-year insurance brokerage licenses to three new companies — Optimum Performance Insurance, Osool Insurance Brokerage and Alliant Insurance Services — with issued capitals of about 2 million pounds, sources told Amwal Al Ghad.
* Margaret Kathanga resigned as CEO of the general insurance arm of Britam Holdings PLC, Nairobi's The Star reported. COO Jackson Theuri will serve as acting CEO.
* A.M. Best assigned Jordan-based National Insurance Co. a financial strength rating of B- (Fair) and a long-term issuer credit rating of "bb-", both with stable outlooks.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Nigeria's central bank has begun refunding banks some of the 500 billion naira it collected from some banks that did not meet a minimum loan-to-deposit ratio requirement after they bridged their shortfalls, Ahmad Abdullahi, the head of banking supervision, told Bloomberg News. United Bank for Africa PLC CFO Ugochukwu Nwaghodoh also noted that some of the 99.7 billion naira fine it paid has been returned.
* Kenya-based Equity Group Holdings PLC plans to reopen discussions to buy the Zimbabwe unit of Atlas Mara Ltd. unit ABC Holdings Ltd., or BancABC, The Kenyan Wall Street wrote, citing media sources. Equity Group is reportedly monitoring the Zimbabwean macroeconomic environment in preparation for a deal.
* Four directors — Mohamed Hassan, Francis Atwoli, Mark Obuya and Joseph Kering — left the board of National Bank of Kenya Ltd. to make way for new board members after the bank's takeover by KCB Group PLC. NBK's new board now comprises John Nyerere as chairman and Paul Russo as managing director, with Stanley Kamau, Jones Nzomo, Linnet Mirehane, Julius Karangi and Joshua Oigara as directors.
* Ghana's Economic and Organized Crime Office is poised to probe directors of over 65 insolvent microfinance firms for not rendering an account of their stewardship or explain how depositor funds were spent, unnamed sources told Joy Business. Some companies reportedly have absent records and other directors cannot even be located.
* A High Court in Ghana granted a 200 million cedi bail to Ato Essien, the founder of defunct Capital Bank, Citi Business News reported. Essien is among the four individuals facing 26 counts of charges, including stealing, money laundering and abetment to steal.
* The Ethiopian government could use some of the proceeds from privatizing state companies to repay state-back bonds issued by banks, Bloomberg News wrote, citing Yinager Dessie, central bank governor. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which accounts for over 60% of the domestic financial services industry, and Development Bank of Ethiopia are the state's two main lenders.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* A potential downgrade of South Africa's sovereign ratings by Moody's may already be priced into the markets but structural reforms are still needed, Lesetja Kganyago, central bank governors, told CNBC. The agency is expected to cut the country's ratings to sub-investment grade, or junk, status, according to the report.
* The ruling Frelimo party in Mozambique and President Filipe Nyusi are expected to win the general elections in the country, the Associated Press wrote, citing unofficial results. However, their expected wins have prompted some analysts to raise concerns about the polls' credibility following reports of suspected ballot stuffing and the lack of independent monitors of the vote-counting process.
* The International Development Association, part of the World Bank Group, has signed a $200 million financing deal with Cameroon, aimed at promoting consolidation of the budget and inclusive growth, Agence Ecofin reported.
* Cape Verde's economy is expected to grow by 5.0% next year, according to the latest monetary policy report by the country's central bank, Expresso Das Ilhas newspaper reported. Inflation is expected to end 2019 at 1.2% and to accelerate slightly to 1.3% next year.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Bank of China leads M&A race for Irish broker; IPOs in South Korea, India
Europe: Bank of China could bid for Goodbody; RBS boosts Brexit fund; Basel progress
Latin America: Infighting at BNDES; PagSeguro prices follow-on offer
North America: Morgan Stanley Q3 EPS up YOY; Highland Capital Management files for bankruptcy
Global Insurance: Berkshire divests Applied Underwriters; Axis cuts coal; Maiden Re to Vermont
Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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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.