MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Central Bank of Tunisia stated new conditions under which it will provide financial assistance to banks and financial institutions, Il Boursa says. The conditions include limiting financial assistance to a period of three months, renewable up to three times.
* Bank Al-Maghrib chief Abdellatif Jouahri said basic plans for Islamic banking in Morocco will be announced before the end of 2016, Financial Afrik says. The central bank has received applications from 10 banks to participate in Islamic banking activities, Jouahri said.
* Qatar's central bank is said to be encouraging local banks to merge, Lusail writes. Sources said that the regulator has not received any requests yet.
* Commerzbank AG notified its clients in the Gulf region in recent weeks that it would no longer process euro clearing transactions beginning next year due to concerns about compliance, insiders tell Reuters. A spokesman for the German bank told the newswire that the firm had ceased offering "certain transaction banking services" in individual countries.
* Kuwait's central bank issued Treasury bonds for 100 million dinars with a rate of 1.75% and maturity of three years, Al Anbaa writes.
* Sukuk issuance from the Middle East will likely rebound next year following an increase in demand, but the market still lacks a considerable investor base for bonds with long maturities, Reuters writes.
* Saudi Arabia has met with several banks to discuss the potential sale of sukuk in the first quarter of 2017, Argaam writes. The country is considering selling sukuk with maturities of five, 10 and 30 years. However, no final decision has been taken with regard to the size or timing of the issue.
* Saudi Arabia's government will increase spending next year to 890 billion riyals, compared to the 840 billion riyals projected for 2016 to help stimulate economic growth after austerity measures helped reduce its budget deficit. Reuters notes that in 2016, for the first time in years, the country has kept its spending below its budget projection, with actual spending amounting to 825 billion riyals.
* Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the government does not see any need to implement further cuts on its oil production on expectations that oil prices will recover next year as a result of the pledged cuts by OPEC and 11 other oil-producing countries, Bloomberg News reports.
* The Central Bank of Oman yesterday raised its overnight repurchase rate to 1.244% from 1.195%, Reuters reports.
* The presidents of Iran and Kazakhstan yesterday signed cooperation agreements to enhance banking relations between the two nations by opening new branches and introducing broad banking transactions, Tasnim News Agency reports.
* Al-Seef Financial Brokerage and Al-Waseet Financial Brokerage received the regulatory nod regarding their expected merger.
* Al Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance and AXA Cooperative Insurance Co. signed a one-year car insurance agreement with Abdul Latif Jameel United Leasing Co. and United Installment Sales Co.
* Amana Insurance said it has come up with a plan that will help the company meet regulatory requirements in term of solvency, adding the board has approved the plan.
* Moody's withdrew its Ba1 insurance financial strength rating and positive outlook on Tazur Takaful Insurance Co. The agency said it withdrew the rating for its own business reasons.
* A.M. Best has upgraded the Financial Strength Rating to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating to "a-" from "bbb+" for Arab Insurance Group (B.S.C) (Arig) (Bahrain). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) has been revised to stable from positive.
* Moody's said the Central Bank of Egypt's plan to roll out new regulations and customer due diligence for mobile payment services in the country is credit positive for local banks as the rules will help boost financial inclusion and enable lenders to create new business opportunities, Daily News Egypt writes.
* Credit Agricole - Egypt Bank (SAE) is set to receive a $30 million loan from French parent Crédit Agricole Group aimed at supporting its Tier 2 capital, Reuters writes. The unit also obtained approval for the sale of three of its properties for 19.7 million Egyptian pounds.
* Moroccan clearing house and depository Maroclear signed an agreement with the national agency for promoting SMEs to help small businesses replace physical securities with securities accounts at Maroclear, La Nouvelle Tribune reports.
* Digital money transfer service provider WorldRemit launched its cash pickup services in Algeria and Lebanon, Mobile Payments Today writes.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Miriam Magala, CEO of the Uganda Insurers Association, said insurers in the country are ready to spur the growth of Islamic insurance, or takaful, in the market, Daily Monitor writes.
* A dispute between a client of KCB Group Ltd. unit KCB Uganda Ltd. and the Uganda Revenue Authority prompted the regulator's decision to strike off the bank from its tax payment portal, The East African reports. The bank said it was identified as a garnishee in a court case involving the client and the URA.
* Kenya is poised to sign in the coming days an accord with African Export-Import Bank that will pave the way for the establishment of a 3 billion shilling regional headquarters for the lender in Nairobi, Business Daily Africa reports.
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Kenya's long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at B+ with a negative outlook, as well as the country's B short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings and BB- county ceiling.
* The Central Bank of Nigeria gave the go-ahead to Wari, a Senegal-based universal payments platform, to commence operations in Nigeria, Financial Afrik says.
* Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc reported group profit attributable to equity holders of the parent of 17.27 billion Nigerian nairas for the nine months ended Sept. 30, up from 11.02 billion nairas in the year-ago period.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Shareholders of failed Nosso Banco have been summoned to choose their representative on a committee set up to liquidate the Mozambican lender, which was shut down by the central bank in November because of its precarious finances, O Pais reports. João Machado, head of the committee, also called on any creditors of the bank to lodge their claims for compensation from Dec. 27. Nosso Banco's shareholders are mainly public companies, including the national social security agency.
* Banco de Moçambique Governor Rogério Zandamela said the regulator will continue to take measures to bring the country's inflation rate, which currently stands at around 27%, to its target level of 14% for next year, Macauhub reports.
* Cameroon's president, Paul Biya, convened today an extraordinary summit of the Communauté économique et monétaire de l'Afrique centrale, the Central African monetary and economic community, to discuss collective policies of "vigorous and structured adjustment," Agence Ecofin says.
* U.S.-based GFI Group Inc.'s affiliated entity agreed to acquire Johannesburg-based interdealer broker Micromega Securities Proprietary Ltd.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Bank of China HK to sell Chiyu Bank stake; Chinese-led group wins PSX stake bid
Europe: MPS poised for state bailout; EU banks exceeding liquidity rules
Latin America: 7 Mexican banks maintain SIFI designation; DBRS confirms Mexico
North America: Trump names special adviser on regulations; NY DFS delays cybersecurity rules
North America Insurance: Aetna-Humana trial could be decided in early 2017; ACA sign-ups exceed 6 million
Xana Kakoty, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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