MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* There is a strong chance that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will both be upgraded by index provider FTSE to emerging market status as early as next month because of reforms undertaken by their respective market regulators, according to EFG-Hermes Holding SAE analysts, The National reported. Such an upgrade would attract approximately $4.5 billion into both markets.
* Banks in Oman are expected to face pressure to maintain their profitability following a rise in policy rates and interbank rates in the country, according to a report by the central bank, the Times of Oman wrote.
* HSBC Holdings Plc plans to boost staff numbers at its Saudi Arabian operations as it seeks to take advantage of opportunities presented by the state's planned economic transformation to reduce its reliance to oil exports, Reuters reported, citing Georges Elhedery, the bank's Middle East and North Africa CEO.
* The Bahraini government has mandated BNP Paribas, Citi, JPMorgan, Gulf International Bank and National Bank of Bahrain to arrange its planned U.S. dollar-denominated bond issue, insiders told Reuters. The size of the issue could be up to $2 billion or $2.5 billion.
* Qatar Insurance Co. SAQ unit Oman Qatar Insurance Co. SAOC announced plans to float 25 million shares in an IPO, in accordance with a royal decree requiring nonlisted national insurers to offer at least 25% of their share capital in IPOs.
* Abu Dhabi has again extended a deadline for Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. to pay a more than $600 million debt originally due at the end of July, Reuters reported. The scandal-ridden 1MDB is now required to make a payment of at least $310 million by Aug. 12 and the rest of the amount plus interest by the end of the month.
* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has permitted Allied Cooperative Insurance Group's online sales of travel and medical malpractice insurance, Argaam noted.
* The Iran-China Chamber of Commerce dismissed reports that banks in China have closed bank accounts of Iranian traders as part of new curbs imposed on the Middle Eastern country, Financial Tribune wrote.
* Egyptian Gulf Bank (SAE) has received the go-ahead from the Egyptian capital markets authority to carry out a $27.7 million capital increase, Agence Ecofin reported. The bank will issue nearly 27 million shares with a nominal value of $1 per share. Subscriptions will be open for a period of one month from Aug. 28.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Provisional results from yesterday's presidential elections in Kenya show that incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta could win another term in officer. With more than 75% of the votes tallied, Kenyatta has won roughly 55% of the vote against opponent Raila Odinga's roughly 44%, news outlets including BBC News and the Financial Times reported.
* Certain lenders of Kenya Airways are taking to court their opposition to a plan requiring them to convert billions of shillings that the airline owes them into equity, Business Daily Africa wrote. Equity Group Holdings Ltd., Jamii Bora Bank Ltd. and Ecobank Kenya Ltd. are said to be among banks that did not agree to the proposed debt conversion, arguing that they were not consulted about the matter.
* Ecobank Transnational Inc. named Eric Jones Odhiambo chief risk officer and group head of risk management. He will join the group Sept. 22.
* Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison said the regulator will strictly enforce the new capital requirement for banks but stressed that it will not use the exercise to force lenders to consolidate, Citi Business News reported. The central bank is expected to increase banks' minimum capital requirement to around 250 million cedis from the current 120 million cedis.
* The Nigerian government has decided to withdraw its case against seven local banks over their alleged non-remittance of state funds and will instead seek an out-of-court settlement, Reuters reported. A court last month ordered the lenders to immediately transfer a combined $793 million due to the state and accused them of withholding funds they collected on behalf of the government.
* The Bank of Tanzania reduced its discount rate by three percentage points to 9% from 12%, Tanzania's Daily News wrote. The cut, which was announced in a circular to banks over the weekend, took effect from Monday.
* Moussa Touré has been named deputy CEO of the Malian subsidiary of Banque Atlantique, effective from Sept. 1st, Abidjan.net wrote.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* South African President Jacob Zuma will continue to hold his post as he survived a no-confidence motion in the country's parliament. Nine lawmakers abstained in what turned out to be a 198-177 vote in favor of Zuma, Bloomberg News reported.
* S&P Global Ratings revised the South Africa national scale ratings of 10 local insurers, including Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd. and Santam Ltd., and removed the "under criteria observation" identifier on the ratings. The ratings actions, which followed S&P's recalibration of the national mapping scale for South Africa, do not reflect any change in the agency's view of the fundamental credit quality of the insurers.
* Data from Namibia's central bank showed that the country's net foreign reserves reached an all-time high of 28.5 billion Namibian dollars at June-end, compared to 25.4 billion dollars a month earlier, Reuters wrote. The Bank of Namibia said the increase was mainly driven by the inflow of international loans intended for budget deficit financing.
* The United Bank for Africa has launched its new banking service, UBA Connect, in its branches in Cameroon, Financial Afrik reported. The bank said in an earlier statement that it has launched the service in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community region.
* Angola wants to proceed with a second eurobond issuance, aiming to raise $2 billion in foreign currency, Diário de Notícias wrote. The Angolan government sees eurobonds as a new and important access channel to external financing.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: CBA full-year cash profit up 5%; Sumitomo Mitsui, Yahoo Japan to form fintech JV
Europe: Standard Life's H1 profit rises; Banco BPM posts H1 profit; Generali sells unit
Latin America: Generali sells Panama unit; Caixa to launch new mortgage line
North America: Citi to pay $130M to settle LIBOR case; San Francisco Fed probing Wells Fargo
North America Insurance: Anthem exits more ACA markets; Wells Fargo under probe over insurance refunds
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.
Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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