GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* The central banks of Qatar and Jordan cut interest rates by 25 basis points, following similar cuts by the central banks of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates after the U.S. Federal Reserve decided to lower its benchmark interest rate. Economists also expect Oman's central bank to follow the Fed's move, Bloomberg News noted.
* Saudi Arabian bank Samba Financial Group reported a second-quarter net profit of 935 million riyals, down from 1.24 billion riyals in the same period in 2018.
* Arab National Bank reported second-quarter net profit of 894.2 million Saudi Arabian riyals, up from 747.2 million riyals a year ago.
* Bahrain-based Ahli United Bank BSC expects the completion of the due diligence studies related to the potential acquisition offer by Kuwait Finance House KSCP to be completed by the end of August.
* Mustafa Kheriba has resigned from UAE-based SHUAA Capital PSC's board of directors.
* Bahrain's central bank has granted a full regulatory license to local cryptocurrency exchange Rain, which has begun trading and has also closed a $2.5 million seed round, Thomson Reuters' Zawya reported. Rain co-founder Yehia Badawy said the company is also in talks with several entities in the region to achieve regulatory compliance in different jurisdictions.
* Burgan Bank KPSC secured approval from the Central Bank of Kuwait to buy back, dispose or sell no more than 10% of its shares for a period of six months.
* Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. appointed FALCOM Financial Services, replacing Aljazirah Capital, to oversee the potential merger with Solidarity Saudi Takaful Company to avoid conflict of interest.
* Kuwait Finance & Investment Co. - KSC (Public) also received regulatory nod to buy and sell no more than 10% of its shares for a period of six months.
* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority imposed a fine on Al Sharq Financial Brokerage Co. for violating rules and regulations, as the broker's customer service employees executed some operations that should be executed only by registered brokers.
* The CMA also fined Arzan Financial Group for Financing and Investment - KPSC for not disclosing vital information related to the nondisclosure of the Kuwait-based firm's general assembly date and its results wherein the strategic plan for the company for the next three years was approved.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron said the central bank will not raise the interest rate in the near future, Globes wrote.
* Iran has approved a plan by the central bank to slash four zeroes from the rial as part of efforts to address the high level of inflation in the country, Deutsche Welle reported, citing a government spokesperson.
* Fawry Banking & Payment Technology Services Ltd.'s private share placing on the Egyptian Exchange was oversubscribed by 15.9x, Reuters reported, citing the listing manager, Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes Holding SAE. The Egypt-based digital payments firm raised around 360 million pounds in the private placing, ahead of its planned IPO. Fawry expects trading in its shares to commence Aug. 8.
* Union National Bank - Egypt (SAE)'s board approved the optional delisting of the company from the Egyptian Exchange, Arab Finance reported.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenyan financial services firm Equity Group Holdings PLC reported first-half unaudited profit after tax, exceptional items and minority interest of 11.92 billion shillings, up from 10.94 billion shillings a year ago. CEO James Mwangi said he is confident that the government will remove a cap on lending rates and further boost demand, Reuters noted.
* Togo-based Ecobank Transnational Inc. named Ayo Adepoju group CFO, effective immediately. Adepoju was appointed acting group CFO in April.
* Paul Muthaura, CEO of Kenya's Capital Markets Authority, said the regulator has admitted an initial three startups to its innovation hub that will serve as a testing ground for the firms for new products that could be rolled out in the local capital markets, Business Daily Africa reported.
* Safaricom PLC interim CEO Michael Joseph said he will focus on expanding the Kenyan telecommunications firm's mobile financial services business, M-Pesa, beyond Kenya, Reuters reported.
* Kenya-based CoreTec Systems and Solutions will take away the ability of savings and credit cooperative societies to use public Wi-Fi to log onto their online platforms in a bid to tighten security against cyber attacks, Business Daily Africa reported.
* MTN Nigeria Communications PLC said it has also applied for a payment service bank license from the Central Bank of Nigeria that will allow it to offer a broader and deeper range of financial services to Nigerians.
* The Financial Stability Board has named Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison as a co-chair of the Switzerland-based organization's regional consultative group for sub-Saharan Africa, Citi Business News wrote.
* Paul Ababio, deputy director-general at Ghana's Securities and Exchange Commission, said the regulator is probing 21 fund managers for placing as much as 5 billion cedi in risky investments that they are struggling to retrieve for clients, Citi Business News reported. Ababio said the SEC will consider options to retrieve investors' funds, including liquidating the fund managers' assets.
* ARB Apex Bank Ltd. Managing Director Kojo Mattah said the Ghanaian lender will work with the central bank to address challenges faced by several rural and community banks to ensure the safety of depositors' funds, Citi Business News wrote.
* Rwanda and the World Bank signed a $200 million credit financing agreement, according to Financial Afrik.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. said it has adopted a group-wide policy on lending to coal-fired power projects and that it is developing a policy on lending to coal mining operations, following a shareholder vote. As a result, the bank will only fund coal-fired power projects that meet certain emissions and size criteria, Business Day noted.
* Auditing firm Deloitte said its auditors responsible for South Africa-based African Bank Ltd.'s account prior to the lender's near collapse in 2014 were given conflicting information by the bank's management about the state of its future cash flows and could not have foreseen the impairment gap that the bank's curator found, Business Day reported.
* South Africa's Financial Sector Conduct Authority has provisionally withdrawn the license of Stringfellow Financial Services Pty Ltd., pending the outcome of the regulator's investigation into allegations of misappropriation of investments and incorrect financial advice given by the company's director, representative and key individual, Thomas Stringfellow.
* South Africa's Black Management Forum said insurer Old Mutual Ltd. flouted corporate governance and labor laws in its attempts to remove CEO Peter Moyo, Business Report wrote, citing African News Agency.
* Nick Criticos was appointed an independent nonexecutive director of South African insurer Liberty Holdings Ltd., effective Sept. 1.
* Zimbabwe's central bank carried out its first public auction of treasury bills since 2012, under which it sought to raise 30 million Zimbabwe dollars, Reuters reported.
* Minor shareholders of Banco BPI SA moved forward with a judicial action in an attempt to block the sale of a 2% stake from Banco de Fomento Angola SA Banco de Fomento Angola SA to Unitel. A court in Porto had given the green light for the bank to proceed with the transaction, but the minor shareholders disagree with the decision and will try to block the sale, Jornal de Negócios said.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: S&P outlook on APAC financial firms to remain stable; Bank of China enters India
Europe: LSE-Refinitiv deal; StanChart's gloomy outlook; restructuring weighs on SocGen
Latin America: Brazil cuts Selic rate to 6%; Mexico slashes 2019 GDP growth forecast
North America: S&P reports higher adjusted EPS YOY in Q2; Big US banks cut benchmark rates
Global Insurance: Capital One hack may cause $400M payout; Cigna earnings; next step for Genworth
Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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