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Saudi Arabia rethinks reforms; Kenya extends Chase Bank receivership

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Saudi Arabia rethinks reforms; Kenya extends Chase Bank receivership

* Anglo-South African financial group Old Mutual Plc could sell its subsidiaries in China, Mexico, Colombia and Uruguay to focus on its African operations, its CEO Bruce Hemphill told Reuters.


* Saudi authorities have indicated to the IMF that they are "considering the appropriate pace of fiscal adjustment" amid weakening economic growth. The fund said the Middle Eastern nation's economic reforms are "beginning to bear fruit" but urged it to undertake a "more gradual fiscal consolidation" that balances its budget by 2022 instead of 2019. Reuters and the Financial Times covered.

* The average of insurance premiums in Saudi Arabia has declined 37% in the first half year over year, Argaam reported, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Governor Ahmed al-Kholifey. He also said the regulator is strictly monitoring the insurance sector, and will ensure all regulations are implemented.

* Separately, al-Kholifey said SAMA will launch a pilot project to issue a digital currency that will be traded exclusively among banks, Arab News reported.

* Metlife AIG ANB Cooperative Insurance Co. said it has received regulatory nod to open three points of sales in Riyadh, Jeddah and Khobar.

* The Qatar Central Bank's international reserves and foreign-currency liquidity recovered in August, rising to $39.0 billion from $36.1 billion a month earlier, Reuters reported. The central bank did not indicate the reason for the recovery, but bankers believe the Qatari government may have utilized cash from the sovereign wealth fund to reload the reserves.

* The Central Bank of Iraq has loosened financial restrictions on all but four banks in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, following a pledge of cooperation from the rest of the lenders, an insider told Reuters. The regulator allowed all but four unidentified Kurdish banks to send and receive dollar and foreign currency transfers.

* Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC appointed Krishna Kumar COO, Gulf News wrote. Kumar joins the lender from Qatar Islamic Bank (QPSC), where he held the same role.

* Islamic banking in Oman is growing at an unprecedented pace and controls 11% of the total banking market in the country, according to Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG COO Moosa Al-Jadidi, Oman Daily reported.

* Islamic Development Bank launched a five-year, $1.25 billion sukuk issuance, CPI Financial wrote. The bond is in addition to the lender's $250 million sukuk issuance earlier this year.

* Oman National Investment Corporation SAOC, a subsidiary of Oman International Development & Investment Co. SAOG, or OMINVEST, signed an agreement with sovereign wealth fund Oman Investment Fund for the purchase of 15% of OMINVEST's shares at 0.478 Omani rial apiece.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings assigned Oman International Development and Investment Co. initial long- and short-term corporate ratings of BBB and A3, respectively.

* Oman-based Bank Dhofar SAOG said its board of directors approved an issue price of 185 baisas per share for its planned rights issue, the details of which will be announced following receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

* CI Capital Holding Co. SAE reached an agreement in principle with Gemini Egypt Holding for Financial Investments to acquire the latter's majority stake in Reefy - Micro Finance Enterprise Services, Daily News Egypt noted.

* AXA Life Egypt is working on strengthening its micro-insurance segment by developing new partnerships, products, services and distribution channels, CEO Gilbert Shaheen said, Agence Ecofin reported.

* CI Ratings affirmed Arab African International Bank (Egyptian JSC)'s long- and short-term foreign-currency ratings at B/B, with a stable outlook.


* Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd.'s customers will have to wait longer to be given clarity on the fate of their funds as the bank's receivership, which was set to end Oct. 7, will be extended pending a Nov. 14 hearing at the High Court on the case, Business Daily Africa wrote.

* Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. secured a 9.30 billion Kenyan shilling funding from the African Development Bank, to be used to boost its lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Access Bank Plc intends to pump additional capital into Access Bank Ghana before the end of the first quarter next year, Citi Business News reported. The move will help Access Bank Ghana meet the new minimum capital requirement of 400 million cedis set by the Bank of Ghana.


* Foreign donors to Mozambique are unlikely to resume short-term aid, putting pressure on key economic indicators in the southern African country, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Jornal de Angola reported. The World Bank, the IMF and other foreign donors halted financing to Mozambique last year due to revelations about $2 billion in previously hidden public debt.

* Nhlamu Dlomu, CEO of auditing firm KPMG's South African unit, said they found no evidence that the errors it made when it carried out work for the controversial Gupta family and the country's tax authority were "systemic," and that reforms are underway to address the issues, Bloomberg News wrote.

* Cameroon's Afriland First Bank has absorbed subsidiary Africa Leasing Co. for strategic reasons after the merger was approved last December, Financial Afrik reported. All the assets and liabilities of the absorbed company will be transmitted to Afriland. The subsidiary has a capital of 2 billion CFA francs.


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Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies, and Helen Popper 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.