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Barclays starts Egyptian unit sale process; Commercial Bank H1 profit plummets YOY

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Barclays starts process to sell Egyptian unit:Barclays Plc hasformally put upfor sale, insiders tellReuters.  andAttijariwafa Bank SA are said to be amonginterested parties. Bids for the unit will be due at August-end.

* Emirates NBD unit saidyesterday that it will not be suspending the use of its cards overseas,correcting an earlier notice to clients that its cards will be disabled forinternational use beginning July 24, Reuters reports.The bank said it is reviewing plans to set limits for credit cards and to offercards in foreign currency.

* yesterday reportedsecond-quarter net profit of 208 million Qatari riyals, down 65% on a yearlybasis. The bank's first-half net profit plummeted year over year to 482 millionriyals from 1.05 billion riyals.

* willsell its 25% stakein Turkey-based Alternatifbank AS to Commercial Bank for at least $222.5million, making the Qatari bank the sole shareholder in Alternatifbank. Thesale is expected to complete this year.

* reportedsecond-quarter net profit of 1.15 billion Saudi riyals, compared to 1.14billion riyals in the same period a year ago. The bank's net special commissionincome rose on a yearly basis to 1.18 billion riyals from 1.07 billion riyalsin the second quarter of 2015.

* CEO Abdulaziz al-Onizansaid the bank's nonperforming loans represent less than 1.5% of its totalloans, Argaam reports.

* Insurance firms in the UAEhave started increasing the minimum price of motor insurance policies by up to40% to offset the profit decline recorded in recent years, accordingto Emarat Al Youm.

* Fitch Ratings yesterdaydowngraded variousratings of National Bank ofBahrain BSC and BBK BSC following the June 28 downgrade of Bahrain'sratings. The downgrades reflect the weakening of Bahrain's ability to supportits domestic banks, the weakening operating environment and the lenders'significant exposure to the sovereign.

* Chairman BassemKhalil al-Salem said the lender expects to report a first-half pretax profit of25 million Jordanian dinars, up from 22 million dinars in the year-ago period, Al-Ghad writes.

* Nemr Kanafani, senioreconomist at , said he expects economic activity inKuwait to acceleratedespite the oil price slump, citing government measures and reforms aimed ataddressing the country's fiscal sustainability in the medium to long term.

* decided toissue Tier 1 sukuk with a maximum value of $250 million to increase itscapital.  

* Vice PresidentAbdelssalam Salih said in an interview with CNBC Arabia that NPLs during thefirst half reached less than 0.8%, the lowest among local banks, Al-Anbaa writes.

* is no longeraccepting employee applications for its voluntary retirement program afterabout 400 to 500 employees signed up to the program less than two months afterit was announced, Globes reports. 

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

Sterling Bank ends talks to acquire Keystone Bank: SterlingBank Plc CFO Abubakar Suleiman said the lender endedtalks to acquire afterconcluding that it was an unsuitable fit to its strategic plan, Reuters writes.Suleiman said Sterling Bank will continue to evaluate other acquisitions, butthat any move would likely happen after its assessment of the impact of the 30%fall in the value of the naira last June.

* The IMF saidyesterday that it expects Nigeria's economy to contract by 1.8% in 2016 as thecountry struggles to adjust to foreign currency shortages driven by the declinein oil prices, low power generation and weak investor confidence. Theprojection is down 4.1 percentage points from the growth it foresaw in itsApril forecast, while the growth projection for 2017 also dropped 2.4percentage points to 1.1%.

* The Accountant General ofthe Federation of Nigeria questioned ,Stanbic IBTC HoldingsPlc, Keystone Bank and other lenders over suspected violationsof the treasury single accounts directive by concealing funds belonging togovernment entities, Naija247news reports.Stanbic IBTC denied the allegations.

* Guaranty Trust Bank sought to extend to Sept. 30 the deadline forsubmitting its half-year audited financial statements, Reuters writes. 

* The Bank of Ghana said ithas allowed several banks to go beyond the permitted lending ceiling in certaincircumstances to help ease their NPL burden, Citi Business News reports.Bernard Otabil, director of communications at the central bank, stressed thatit is within the regulator's powers to make exemptions in order to maintainfinancial stability.

* Kenya's Capital Markets Authority outlined plans to provide a regulatory framework for online forex trading by makingamendments to the Capital Markets Act. Under the draft amendments, the CMA willbe able to grant forex licenses to online brokers, which will be required tohave a minimum capital of 50 million shillings, Finance Magnates writes.

* Almost all borrowers ofnow-defunct Dubai Bank Kenya Ltd. have stopped repaying their loans, bringingthe lender's NPL ratio to 99%, BusinessDaily Africa reports.The Kenya Deposit Insurance Corp. said it will take legal action against theloan defaulters and seize their assets, among others.

* First Assurance, which ismajority-owned by Barclays AfricaGroup Ltd., is set to get a 300 million Kenyan shilling capitalboost, Business Daily Africa reports.The latest round of funding is in addition to the 400 million shillinginjection First Assurance received since Barclays Africa acquired a63.3% stake in the insurance firm in 2015.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

IMF warns corruption hindering South Africa's growth: IMF FirstDeputy Managing Director David Lipton said corruption in South Africa isimpeding the implementation of reforms necessary to boost the country'seconomic growth, Reuters writes.  Lipton called for increased transparency atstate-owned firms while adding that higher government spending and lower taxeswill not help improve conditions for economic growth.

* Universal Seguros plans toopen a number of new branches across Angola this year, Nataly Mateus, head ofthe company's large clients department, tells OPaís. The insurer aims toexpand nationwide with a range of products aimed at individual and corporateclients.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific:

Europe:

LatinAmerica:

NorthAmerica:

NorthAmerica Insurance: UnitedHealth'searnings rise despite drag from ACA biz; interest rate headwinds to define Q2results for life insurers 

Leo Magno, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to thisreport.

The Daily Dose Middle Eastand Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external linksmay require a subscription.