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Ecobank says unaware of probe; Fitch downgrades Oman; Morocco holds key rate

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Ecobank says unaware of probe; Fitch downgrades Oman; Morocco holds key rate

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Fitch Ratings downgraded Oman's long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings to BB+ from BBB-, among other ratings, saying the outlook for oil production, prices and the pass-through of oil revenues to the government's budget is "highly uncertain." Moody's remains the only major rating agency to rate Oman's credit rating as investment grade, Reuters noted.

* The Central Bank of Oman approved a draft framework for the rescue and replacement of banks, Oman Daily reported.

* Ahli Bank SAOG received approval from Oman's Capital Market Authority for the allotment of perpetual bonds with an aggregate amount of 54 million rials to qualified subscribers. The bonds will be listed on the Muscat Securities Market shortly after the allotment is completed.

* Bank Sohar SAOG appointed Aziz al-Jahdhami as assistant general manager and head of wealth management, according to the Times of Oman.

* Bank AlBilad's board of directors proposed to increase the lender's capital to 7.50 billion Saudi Arabian riyals from 6.00 billion riyals through the issuance of 1 bonus share for every 4 shares owned. The capital hike will be done through capitalization of 1.5 billion riyals by capitalizing the statutory reserve and retained earnings.

* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority issued rules for the licensing and supervision of branches of foreign insurance and reinsurance companies operating in the country.

* Dominique Leimer will join Credit Suisse in March 2019 as head of the Swiss lender's private wealth unit in Saudi Arabia, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* Kuwait Finance House KSCP dismissed as "groundless" a report by newspaper Al Rai that it reached an agreement with Bahrain's Ahli United Bank BSC for the exchange ratio of their planned merger. The banks reportedly agreed on an exchange ratio of 2.4 Ahli United Bank shares for every KFH share. The newspaper added that Bahrain's Social Insurance Organization, which controls 10.2% of Ahli United Bank, is delaying the approval of the plan by the bank's board as it prefers the deal to be carried out in cash instead of a share swap.

* The Dubai Financial Services Authority approved amendments to its collective investment funds framework, Argaam wrote.

* First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC unit FAB Securities has let go of eight employees, which included four managers, insiders told Reuters.

* S&P Global Ratings revised the outlook on Doha Bank Assurance Co. LLC to stable from negative, while affirming the Qatar-based insurer's BBB long-term insurer financial strength and issuer credit ratings.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Fitch affirmed Lebanon's long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B-/B and revised the outlook on the long-term ratings to negative from stable.

* Lebanese politicians said a new national unity government is expected to be formed within the next few days, Reuters reported. Since the national election in May, efforts to form the new government have been hampered by conflicting demands for cabinet posts.

* Credit card firm Leumi Card Ltd. raised 140 million Israeli shekels in CoCo deferred notes, Globes reported.

* The Central Bank of Egypt is reviewing the possibility of reopening license applications for foreign banks seeking to operate in the country, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

* Egypt received a $500 million loan from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, which it will use to finance develop development activity in the Sinai peninsula, Financial Afrik wrote.

* Morocco's central bank kept its key rate unchanged at 2.25%

* The IMF approved a roughly $2.97 billion precautionary and liquidity line for Morocco. The two-year arrangement is aimed at providing insurance against external risks and support the authorities' efforts to further strengthen the resilience of the country's economy.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Kenya's Capital Markets Authority granted a money manager license to Standard Investment Bank Ltd. to engage in online foreign exchange trading, marking the country's first under the money manager license category.

* Kenyan mortgage lender HF Group PLC appointed Robert Kibaara CEO, replacing Frank Ireri, who is retiring, according to Business Daily Africa. Kibaara was previously director of retail banking at NIC Bank.

* CalBank Ltd. and Societe Generale Ghana Ltd. have met the 400 million cedi minimum capital requirement set by the Bank of Ghana ahead of the December-end deadline, Citi Newsroom and Graphic Online reported.

* Moussa Sanogo, secretary of state in charge of Ivory Coast's budget, said the government is looking to raise as much as 1.4 trillion CFA francs on regional and international markets next year, according to Reuters. A source told the newswire that the country plans to raise most of the money through the issuance of eurobonds.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Nedbank Group Ltd. COO Mfundo Nkuhlu said the South African lender and the board of Togo-based pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational Inc. are unaware of any probe into Ecobank that has reportedly been initiated by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Reuters reported. The statement follows a report by South Africa's The Sunday Times that Ecobank, in which Nedbank has a 21% stake, allegedly applied incorrect exchange rates to boost its accounts.

* Angolan cash transactions may be limited to 3 million kwanzas for individuals and 5 million kwanzas for companies if a proposed review of the country's penal code is passed. Deputy attorney general Mota Liz said the measure's aim is to prevent the circulation of large cash quantities outside the financial system, Macauhub wrote.

* The IMF approved the disbursement of roughly $76.3 million to Cameroon after completing the third review of its extended credit facility arrangement for the country. The latest release brings total disbursements under the arrangement to around $438.9 million.

* The Central African Republic has formalized its membership in Afreximbank and is awaiting becoming a full shareholder in the lender, Financial Afrik reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: IDFC Bank, Capital First close merger; Bank of China names employee supervisors

Europe: Saxo Bank to buy BinckBank for €424M; Bankia off-loads €3B of bad loans

Latin America: Banco BMG confirms IPO postponement; Mexican sofipo Coincidir to be liquidated

North America: Goldman says previous Malaysia government lied; BNY Mellon to pay $54M

Global Insurance: Epic Integro deal; PartnerRe quitting Dubai; Centene boosts enrollment

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Padraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 4 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.