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Qatar Central Bank hikes deposit rate; Equity Group posts FY'17 profit rise

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* The Qatar Central Bank increased its deposit rate by 25 basis points to 1.75% following a similar rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The central bank maintained its lending rate and repurchase rate at 5.00% and 2.50%, respectively.

* Emirates NBD Bank PJSC could potentially agree to purchase PAO Sberbank of Russia's Turkish unit DenizBank AS within weeks, after repeated efforts by DenizBank CEO Hakan Ates to persuade Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan that the potential acquisition would be positive for the country's banking system, insiders told Reuters.

* The eight banks in the rate-setting panel whose quotes will be used to calculate the Emirates Interbank Offered Rates will be required to justify their quotes under the new system of setting the benchmark rate, insiders told Reuters.

* Shariah-complaint banks in the United Arab Emirates are working on setting a committee to handle money collected from donations and zakat collection, Argaam wrote, citing Jamal bin Ghalaita, CEO of Emirates Islamic Bank PJSC.

* Investment firm Dubai Holding LLC appointed Sharjil Anwar CFO, effective June 3.

* Creditors of detained Saudi Arabian businessman Maan al-Sanea are seeking more information on a proposed settlement over approximately 16 billion riyals in claims, insiders told Reuters. The settlement would get al-Sanea released from detention due to unpaid debt and halt a liquidation of his assets.

* Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. named Shafiq bin Mansour al-Ramih CEO.

* Bank Sohar SAOG closed a $300 million, three-year syndicated term loan facility, which the Omani lender will use for general funding purposes.

* Israeli social trading company eToro raised $100 million in its latest funding round, bringing total funds raised to date to $162 million, Reuters reported.

* CICA-Re, the joint reinsurance company of CIMA, the regional body for the insurance industry in 14 French-speaking African countries, has opened an office in Tunisia, according to L'Economiste Maghrébin.

* Visa Inc. named Marcello Baricordi general manager for the Middle East and North Africa, replacing Ihab Ayoub, Arabian Business reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Equity Group Holdings Plc reported group profit after tax, exceptional items and minority interest of 18.87 billion Kenyan shillings for full year 2017, up from 16.55 billion shillings in 2016. Group CEO James Mwangi called for the removal of the country's interest rate cap law, expressing opposition to the Treasury's and the Central Bank of Kenya's plan to potentially only modify the controversial law, Business Daily Africa reported.

* Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge said depositors of failed lenders Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd. and Imperial Bank Ltd. will need to wait longer before they can access their cash, Business Daily Africa wrote. Mauritian lender SBM Holdings Ltd. is still working on carving out Chase Bank's assets and liabilities, he reportedly said.

* Nigeria's Senate approved the appointment of three new members of the central bank's monetary policy committee, allowing the committee to establish a quorum of six and proceed as planned with the next interest-rate setting meeting set for April 3 and 4, Reuters wrote. The appointment of two deputy central bank governors was also approved.

* The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corp. appointed an interim management committee, led by Bunmi Lawson, for Fortis Microfinance Bank Plc.

* Managers of uniBank (Ghana) Ltd. intend to seek the reversal of the Bank of Ghana's takeover of the lender, as the regulator was unable to meet the requirement of notifying them of the move before announcing it, Citi Business News reported, citing Reuters.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* The Angolan central bank will allow local commercial banks to charge for six so-called minimum services, easing restrictions that banned commissions on 12 banking operations that were introduced last year, according to Expansão.

* Fitch Ratings said the Central African Economic and Monetary Community has strengthened its external buffers, but noted that the region remains vulnerable to any renewed decline in oil prices.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: Asian central banks respond to US Fed hike; AXA names Thai ops CEO

Europe: Deutsche Bank slides; UBS, New York reach settlement; SocGen sets CET1 target

Latin America: Peru's Kuczynski quits; Brazil lowers Selic rate

North America: JPMorgan tops global i-bank rankings; Wamego Bancshares seeks to buy Kansas peer

North America Insurance: Iowa House OKs association health plans; Allstate cat bond grows to $500M

Leo Magno, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper 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.