* The world's largest banks will need to plug a larger total capital shortfall to meet final regulatory requirements fully taking effect in 2027, according to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Internationally active banks with more than €3 billion in Tier 1 capital must raise €7.0 billion in common equity Tier 1 capital to meet requirements, up from a shortfall of €5.2 billion six months previously.
* A potential trading link between Africa's seven largest securities exchanges could boost liquidity through cross-border investments in the region and attract more foreign investors, data from S&P Global Market Intelligence shows. However, the initiative would not quickly improve some factors that weigh on capital markets, including high transaction costs and difficulties in repatriating foreign currency, the report noted.
* Stuart McMurdo will become CEO of Scor Specialty Insurance's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, effective Sept. 1. Scor Specialty Insurance is a unit of France-based Scor SE.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Banks in the United Arab Emirates, including Emirates NBD Bank PJSC and Commercial Bank International PSC, suspended services to clients who did not submit proof of their identities, The National reported. In November last year, the nation's central bank urged lenders and financial institutions to update their customer databases and block customers who fail to comply.
* UAE-based insurers are expected to face challenging market conditions through the year, Reinsurance News wrote, citing analysts at A.M. Best. The companies will likely be hit by weakened underwriting discipline and competition surrounding rates, the report added.
* Capital Intelligence Ratings downgraded the financial strength rating of UAE-based Invest Bank PSC to BB from BBB-, citing a deterioration in the bank's asset quality, as well as an impaired capital base and weak profitability ratios. The outlook on the foreign currency rating was revised to negative.
* Qatar Islamic Bank QPSC issued $750 million in Islamic bonds, or sukuk, with a 3.982% coupon and a five-year tenor. The sukuk was oversubscribed 4.1x.
* The shareholders of Riyad Bank approved the distribution of a 4% cash dividend in respect of the second half of 2018, corresponding to 1.2 billion Saudi Arabian riyals or 40 halalas per share, Argaam reported.
* The Central Bank of Bahrain held its key policy interest rate on the one-week deposit facility at 2.75%, as well as the overnight rate at 2.50% and lending rate at 4.50%. However, the central bank cut the one-month rate to 3.10% from 3.25%.
* Separately, Khalid Hamad, executive director of banking supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain, said banks that fail to implement Basel III capital adequacy ratio minimum requirements will have two options: Merge, or become an investment company under the supervision of the central bank, Al Ayam reported.
* Kuwait's Union of Investment Companies appointed Zaki Salah al-Salimi chairman of the board, replacing Badr al-Sabeiai, Al-Anba reported.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Egypt launched a 1 billion pound fund for financial technology startup companies through its central bank, ITWeb Africa reported. The fund will support fintech research and companies focused in digital finance.
* Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi called for amendments to the country's constitution that would grant the presidency more power and lower that of the prime minister, Reuters reported. The president and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed have been at odds for years, particularly after Chahed urged Essebsi to step down.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Kenyan authorities raided a branch of Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd. over a tip that a customer had brought in fake banknotes, The East African wrote. Kenya's Directorate of Criminal Investigations said in a series of tweets that it had arrested six individuals after it found some $20 million in fake bank notes in a safety deposit box in the bank. Reuters also covered.
* The Nigerian Stock Exchange suspended trading of the shares of Diamond Bank PLC, ahead of the completion of its merger with Access Bank PLC, which is expected at the end of March, according to Financial Afrik. Pulse also covered.
* Nigeria's Jaiz Bank PLC inaugurated five more branches as the lender seeks to intensify its expansion efforts in the country, The Punch reported. The bank now has 39 branches.
* The IMF's executive board completed the final review under the extended credit facility for Ghana, allowing the disbursement of the last tranche of around $185.2 million. Ghana's four-year extended credit facility-supported program is set to end on April 2.
* The board of West Africa's development bank, Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement, approved 15 new financing operations, including nine medium- and long-term loans, three refinancing decisions, two lines of credit, and an equity investment, Agence Ecofin reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. appointed David Hodnett as its chief risk officer designate, beginning March 25, CNBC Africa reported. Hodnett, who previously served as deputy CEO of Absa Group Ltd., will replace Neil Surgey on May 1.
* The South African Reserve Bank will likely maintain its interest rate at 6.75% at its March 28 monetary policy committee meeting, according to a poll conducted by Reuters. The central bank is also not expected to lower rates this year, as a weak currency threatens to fuel inflation.
* South African sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Corp. (SOC) Ltd. has been given an extension in recovering irregular investments made to Ayo Investment Technology amounting to approximately 4.3 billion rand, Mail & Guardian wrote. The period was extended to 60 days from an initial 15 days beginning Feb. 21.
* Portugal's central bank rejected a sovereign guarantee made by Angola for the troubled local unit of Portuguese lender Banco Espírito Santo SA in 2013 because key information was missing, Lusa News Agency reported, citing court documents. The report said the central bank had asked the Angolan government to fill in missing details about the $5.7 billion state guarantee for Banco Espírito Santo Angola, but rejected it when the information was not provided, leading eventually to Banco Espírito Santo SA's 2014 resolution. Some troubled assets had also been left out of the scope of the protection. Former Banco Espírito Santo CEO Ricardo Salgado has accused Portugal's central bank of causing the bank's demise by ignoring the guarantee that was signed by former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos.
* Meanwhile, a group of Portuguese investors affected by Banco Espírito Santo SA's collapse rejected a recent court ruling that found the Portuguese central bank's actions were legal and constitutional, according to Lusa News Agency.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Thailand keeps rate steady; Vietinbank to divest Saigon Bank shares
Europe: UBS fined; Italy to extend bad-loan guarantees; BBVA, Nordea sell CoCos
Latin America: Peru mulls changes to M&A law; BNDES asked to repay more debt
North America: SEC to review US asset management sector; 2 NJ banks in $19.4M deal
Global Insurance: NFIP exposure to Nebraska; FEMA cat bond; Munich Re forecast
Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.