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UAE caps retail banking fees; Morocco holds rate; court approves Abraaj revamp

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UAE caps retail banking fees; Morocco holds rate; court approves Abraaj revamp

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has unveiled amendments to regulations governing banks loans and services offered to individual customers, setting maximum limits on fees or commissions charged on retail products and services, including home loans and late fees on credit cards, Gulf Business reported. The move comes as the country aims to attract more expatriates and boost its non-oil sector, The National noted.

* Abraaj Group Ltd. said a court in the Cayman Islands, where it is registered, appointed representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte as joint provisional liquidators of Abraaj Holdings Ltd. and Abraaj Investment Management Ltd., respectively, allowing the Dubai-based private equity firm to pursue court-supervised restructuring plans.

* Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Financial Group unit ADCM Ltd. conditionally offered Abraaj Group Ltd. $50 million to purchase investment management arm Abraaj Investment Management Ltd. and its managing interest in all of its limited partnerships, Reuters reported.

* A wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority agreed to acquire up to 21.4% of Pension Insurance Corp. Group's shares from funds advised by J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

* Warba Bank KSCP appointed Paul Quigley chief risk officer. The company said the Central Bank of Kuwait has already approved the appointment.

* Arab Banking Corp. BSC secured approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain to appoint Securities and Investment Co. BSC as a market maker to enhance the liquidity of the lender's listed shares on the Bahrain Bourse.

* Al Madina Investment Co. SAOG's board of directors appointed Mohammed al-Naki vice chairman of the board, instead of Khamis Mubarak Alkyumi.

* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC said UAE-based Amwal Brokerage has signed up as trading member to avail the bank's settlement and clearing services, Argaam reported.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Morocco's central bank kept its key rate unchanged at 2.25%, as it projected a spike in inflation in 2018 along with slower economic growth.

* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM said it would offer a new series of bonds worth 1.45 billion shekels to the public, according to Reuters.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings upgraded Sudan-based United Capital Bank's national scale long-term rating to "suA-" from "suBBB-" and its national scale short-term rating to "suA2" from "suA3," among other ratings actions.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Kofi Konadu Apraku, the commissioner for macroeconomic policy and economic research at the Economic Community of West African States, said the current ECOWAS leadership has set up a presidential task force to ensure the realization of a single currency for the region by 2020, Ghana Business News reported.

* Patrick Ocailap, Uganda's deputy secretary to the Treasury, said Islamic banking is expected to be operational in the country by October, the Daily Monitor reported.

* Exim Bank Tanzania Ltd. closed a 75 billion shilling loan to finance and support long-term lending to small and medium-size enterprises in Tanzania.

* The IMF's Executive Board completed the third reviews under the three-year extended credit facility and extended fund facility arrangements for Cote d'Ivoire, enabling the disbursement of roughly $136.6 million.

* The Association of Chinese Banks has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tunisian Professional Association of Banks and Financial Institutions to establish permanent channels of communication and collaboration, Il Boursa reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South African Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo told Bloomberg TV that the central bank might raise interest rates if the weakness of the rand boosts inflation and results in second-round effects on prices.

* South African lender Sasfin Holdings Ltd. appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. as its auditor, effective immediately, replacing KPMG and Grant Thornton. The lender said the change was made "to ensure the ongoing independence of the group's auditors." KPMG has been embroiled in a scandal in South Africa over its ties with the controversial Gupta family.

* South Africa-based financial services group Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. said its acquisition of a significant stake in Zimbabwean firm African Actuarial Consultants in June 2017 is now unconditional after receiving all necessary regulatory approvals.

* Brait SE, an investment firm listed on the EURO MTF market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, said no dividend has been declared for the year ended March 31 as the board has resolved to reduce debt.

* The confederation of the Economic Associations of Mozambique is concerned about the slow-paced reduction of interest rates by commercial banks. The institution said banks should reduce rates to the same level as the official interest rate in the country, O País reported.

* The Bank of Botswana maintained its bank rate at 5%, citing a favorable inflation trend.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Australia's Optal eyes stake sale; NAB hires advisers for wealth division sale

Europe: CYBG-Virgin Money to cut 1,500 jobs; Axa investment unit revamps model

Latin America: Final regulatory nod for Citi-Colpatria deal; PagSeguro's follow-on public offer

North America: Connecticut banks merging in $544M deal; Cerberus nears deal for air cargo biz

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.

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