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Saudi stocks slump after US threat; StanChart to launch digital bank in Ghana

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* Shares in Saudi firms slumped yesterday after U.S. President Donald Trump warned that the U.S. could take strong measures against Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Bloomberg News reported. Saudi Arabia has denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance but said it would retaliate against any punitive measures, the news agency said, citing the Saudi Press Agency. Trump, however, said he saw no reason to block Saudi Arabian investments in the U.S. despite concerns over the issue, Reuters noted.

* Meanwhile, Virgin Group's Richard Branson suspended proposed investment talks with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, joining a growing list of business leaders and firms that have distanced themselves from Saudis after Khashoggi's disappearance. JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford also pulled out of a Saudi investor conference following Khashoggi's disappearance, Reuters reported.

* Walaa Cooperative Insurance Co. received regulatory nod to appoint Khalid Bin Abdulrahman Alrajhi vice chairman and Sulaiman Bin Abdulaziz Altuwaijri chairman of the executive committee.

* The United Arab Emirates has issued a law allowing the federal government to begin issuing sovereign debt, Reuters reported, citing the nation's finance ministry.

* The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange has launched a new integrated digital platform, Sahmi, which will aim to automate investors' service requests within the platform across all major systems in the exchange, as well as integrate them with digital initiatives introduced by the UAE government.

* Bank Muscat SAOG booked a preliminary net profit of 134.7 million Omani rials for the nine months ended Sept. 30, up 3.4% from 130.3 million rials a year earlier. The bank is due to release full results for the period later in October.

* Moody's said the potential merger of Oman Arab Bank SAOC and Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG will be credit positive for the former and will establish an Islamic banking entity with assets of around $7.6 billion, The National reported.

* Burgan Bank KPSC completed its rights issue, raising 62.6 million Kuwaiti dinars through the issuance of 240,581,530 shares.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* Egyptian Finance Minister Mohamed Maait said the government is considering issuing bonds in currencies other than the euro and the U.S. dollar as part of efforts to improve its debt structure, Reuters reported. Maait added that the government has been advised to consider issuing in Asia following the launch of a roadshow in the region.

* Mohamed Farid, head of Egypt's stock exchange, said the bourse will reduce the length of time stock trades are halted following a major price move to 10 minutes from 15 minutes to "strengthen liquidity and market activity and achieve sustainability and continuity of trading," Reuters reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Standard Chartered PLC CEO Bill Winters said the group is planning to launch a digital bank in Ghana before the end of 2018, Joy Business reported.

* The planned launch of a bank by Kenya's Lake Region Economic Bloc later in October could be shelved after several members of county assemblies failed to adopt an agreement previously signed by 14 of the bloc's governors, Daily Nation wrote.

* Moody's said Kenya will be exposed to costlier debt financing after international sovereign bonds mature in 2019 and 2020, particularly if local currencies depreciate and global loan market conditions tighten, Business Daily Africa wrote.

* U.K.-based banknote printing firm De La Rue International Ltd. will retain its 10 billion Kenyan shilling-a-year contract from Kenya's central bank after a High Court decision to nullify the award was reversed by the Court of Appeal, Daily Nation reported.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Ethiopia's B/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings, with a stable outlook.

* Côte d'Ivoire will reconsider previous plans to issue local-currency bonds to overseas investors in 2019 in a bid to diversify its investor base, insiders told Bloomberg News.

* Africa Finance Corp. President Samalia Zubairu said the Nigeria-based company secured a $300 million loan from the Export-Import Bank of China to invest in African manufacturing projects, the Financial Times reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South African Democratic Alliance party leader Mmusi Maimane said he will ask President Cyril Ramaphosa to answer allegations that he had known about the alleged corruption at VBS Mutual Bank and failed to act on it, Business Day reported. The party is also considering taking legal action against Ramaphosa if the allegations are proven true, Maimane added.

* Meanwhile, former South African public protector Thuli Madonsela urged the Economic Freedom Fighters party to determine whether its deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, was aware of his brother Brian Shivambu's alleged involvement in the corruption scandal at VBS Mutual Bank, Business Day wrote.

* South African investment firm PSG Group Ltd. said it expects headline EPS to rise as much as 40.5% in the six months to August-end, Business Day reported.

* Discovery Life Ltd. disclosed the personal information of around 1,000 clients after it filed an urgent application with the Johannesburg High Court to prohibit one of its former brokers, Devan de Meyer, from contacting, attracting and soliciting away the clients, Moneyweb reported.

* Insurer Momentum is evaluating banks that it can partner with to have a banking license, Moneyweb wrote.

* Moody's revised its outlook on the Republic of the Congo's issuer ratings to stable from negative while affirming the country's Caa2 ratings, citing its expectation that negotiations to restructure the government's debt would not trigger a default.

* S&P affirmed Cameroon's B/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency sovereign credit ratings, with a stable outlook.

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Nova Sociedade de Seguros de Angola SA's insurer financial strength rating at B, with a stable outlook.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: CBA appoints CFO; KKR eyes Indian portfolios; ANZ to expand again in Asia

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.