MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* First Gulf Bank PJSC's shares will be delisted from the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange at end of trading today, at the same time its merger with National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC will be declared effective. Shares in the new entity, which retains the NBAD name, will begin trading Sunday, The National writes.
* Citigroup Inc. won the arbitration case pursued by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority over losses related to the U.S. mortgage crisis, Reuters reports. The sovereign fund, which in 2007 invested $7.5 billion in Citi in exchange for a 4.9% stake, sought to revoke its investment agreement with the bank or damages in excess of $4 billion for alleged "fraudulent misrepresentations" in connection with the investment.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings lowered National Bank of Oman SAOG's long-term foreign-currency rating to BBB from BBB+, following the recent downgrade of Oman's long-term rating. The agency also lowered the financial strength rating of Qatar-based Commercial Bank (PSQC) to BBB+ from A-.
* U.S. prosecutors arrested Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager at Türkiye Halk Bankasi AS, on charges of conspiring to commit bank fraud and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, Reuters reports. Atilla is accused of colluding with Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab to carry out millions of dollars of alleged illicit transactions through U.S. banks on behalf of the Iranian government and companies based in Iran.
* Moody's said the implementation of Egypt's IMF program will support gradual improvements to the country's fiscal and external position, but its social and economic costs risk slowing the pace of fiscal reform momentum.
* A decades-long legal dispute between Tunisia and ABCI Investments NV over the ownership of Banque Franco Tunisienne is nearing an end, Jeune Afrique writes. Tunisia risks being fined hundreds of millions of Tunisian dinars over the issue.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Bank of Ghana Governor Nashiru Issahaku has resigned from his post for personal reasons, he tells Joy Business. Insiders tell Joy Business that Ernest Addison, formerly director of research at the central bank, is likely to take over as BoG governor after Issahaku's resignation takes effect April 1.
* Ghanaian Deputy Finance Minister-designate Charles Adu Boahen said limiting the number of banks in the country would restrict the free market, amid concerns that Ghana is becoming overbanked, Citi Business News reports.
* GCB Bank Ltd. reported full-year 2016 group profit attributable to equity holders of 318.1 million Ghanaian cedis, compared to 254.6 million cedis in the year-ago period.
* The National Bank of Rwanda kept its key repo rate unchanged at 6.25% and noted that the country's financial sector remains profitable, adequately liquid and solvent.
* The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Finance said the central bank approved a license for the Development Bank of Nigeria, Reuters reports. The ministry said the DBN will focus on wholesale lending to microfinance banks and will start operations with $1.3 billion, to be provided by the African Development Bank, the World Bank and other institutions.
* Africa Finance Corp. said Sarah Alade stepped down as chair of the pan-African institution's board of directors, with effect from March 28. Joseph Nnanna, deputy governor at the Central Bank of Nigeria, takes over as AFC chairman.
* Nigeria sold a $500 million, 15-year eurobond with a 7.5% yield, Reuters reports. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said proceeds from the sale will be used to fund the country's capital projects outlined in the 2016 budget.
* Adeniyi Akinlusi, president of the Mortgage Banking Association of Nigeria, tells Bloomberg News that mortgage lenders are "just struggling to survive" amid increasing pressure brought about by unpaid loans.
* An IMF delegation concluded a visit to Sierra Leone to initiate discussions on a possible extended credit facility arrangement that could be supported by the fund. The IMF said the nation's economy is expected to grow 6% in real terms this year, but the macroeconomic situation remains challenging.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan attended a hearing in the Pretoria High Court to support his application for a declaratory order that he cannot interfere in relationships between banks and their clients, the Rand Daily Mail reports. The influential Gupta family is demanding that Gordhan intervene in their dispute with South African lenders, after the country's four biggest banks closed the accounts of Gupta-owned companies in 2016 over "suspicious transactions" amid controversy over the family's ties to South African President Jacob Zuma.
* Vardospan Ltd. applied for a South African court ruling to force the South African Reserve Bank, the Registrar of Banks and Finance Minister Gordhan to decide by tomorrow on whether to authorize the company's acquisition of a majority stake in Habib Overseas Bank Ltd.'s local unit, Bloomberg News reports. The purchase is conditional on Vardospan receiving regulatory approval by the end of the week.
* Germany-based Wirecard AG acquired all the shares of South Africa-based online payment company MyGate Communications (Pty.) for €23.1 million.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: US official says heist state-backed; China Construction 2016 profit up 1.45%
Europe: UK triggers Brexit; global insured disaster losses up; RBS proposes settlement
Latin America: Peru braces for insurance losses; Brazil delays budget edict
North America: Wells to pay $110M to settle fake account suit; BofA fined $45M for foreclosure
North America Insurance: House GOP, White House renew ACA repeal talks; 3 states weigh Medicaid expansion
Leo Magno, Sarah Raslan, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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