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MENA news through July 13


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MENA news through July 13


* A meetingbetween the Central Bank of Iran, the U.S. Treasury and London-basedinternational banks due to take place in London on Tuesday was postponed,Reuters wrote.Newly appointed U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond, who was serving as foreignsecretary at the time, said the meeting was an attempt to make progress onBritish businesses investing in the Middle Eastern country.   

* CentralBank of Iran Deputy Governor Akbar Komijani said Russia-based restored business tieswith Iranian financial firms, Tasnim News Agency reported,citing Bloomberg.

* TheCentral Bank of Kuwait saidin its 2015 financial stability report that the local banking sector remainedsound and stable during the year despite the fall in oil prices. The centralbank noted the healthy growth of domestic credit, the steady decline of thenonperforming loans ratio and positive net income growth in the sector, amongothers.

*The Central Bank of Oman said in its financial stability report for 2015 that the total exposure of the Omanibanking industry to the real estate sector amounts to more than 30% of thetotal lending portfolio, potentially exposing Omani banks to considerable risksin the event of a weakening real estate market. The regulatornoted also that the sector's NPL ratio was 1.8% of gross loans at the end of2015, suggesting "satisfactory asset quality and well-contained creditrisk thus far."

*Separately, the Omani central bank said the government has no intentions toabandon the rial's peg to the U.S. dollar, saying the maintenance of the peg is"a crucial indicator of the credibility of monetary policy" andfinancial stability, the Oman DailyObserver wrote.

*Kuwaiti Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh toldBloomberg News that his country is open to coordinating with Saudi Arabia onthe timings of their planned bond sales, as both countries intend to gaugeinvestor interest for approximately $20 billion in bonds. Saudi Arabia isseeking to raise at least $10 billion after the summer, while Kuwait, which hasyet to appoint banks to manage the sale, plans to raise up to $9.9 billion inSeptember.

*The Israeli Supreme Court issued an interim injunction against the government's plan to capbank and insurance executives' compensation at 2.5 million shekels. JusticeYoram Danziger said some executives had already resigned and others wereconsidering doing so due to uncertainty surrounding "several significantpoints of the law."

*Gulf International BankBSC namedOsamah Mohammed Shaker CEO of Riyadh-based investment banking unit GIB CapitalLLC, effective June 29. Shaker previously served as director general of bankingcontrol, overseeing and regulating all commercial banks in Saudi Arabia, andsenior adviser to the deputy governor for supervision at the central bank ofSaudi Arabia.

*Oman Arab Bank SAOC named Rashad Ali al-Musafir deputy CEO, with effectAug. 14. Al-Musafir joins from Bank Sohar SAOG, where he was acting CEO, CFO and actinghead of compliance.

*Lebanon-based Holding M. Sehnaoui SAL is buying a majority stake in Piraeus Bank Cyprus Ltd. fromGreece-based Piraeus BankSA.

* S&PGlobal Ratings placedNational Bank of Abu DhabiPJSC's and First GulfBank PJSC's issuer credit ratings on CreditWatch negative andpositive, respectively, following the lenders' decision to merge. On the samenews, Fitch Ratings placed First Gulf Bank's ratings on Rating WatchPositive and National Bank of Abu Dhabi's viability rating on Rating WatchNegative.

*Moody's said the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU will not have a significantcredit impact on Gulf Cooperation Council sovereigns, due to their limitedtrade exposure to Britain and the resilience of their sovereign wealth funds.However, banking sector retrenchment presents moderate risks, with the UAE andQatar vulnerable if British lenders scale back in the region.

*Banque Saudi Fransi reportedsecond-quarter net profit of 1.05 billion Saudi riyals, up 3.15% on a yearlybasis. The first-half net profit rose 2.90% year over year to 2.13 billionriyals. The lender proposed a dividend of 55 halalasper share, up 10% from a year ago.

*Bank Muscat SAOG bookedpreliminary net profit of 90.5 million Omani rials for the first half, up from89.8 million rials a year ago. Impairments for credit losses rose year overyear to 32.7 million rials from 27.6 million rials.

*Qatar National BankSAQ reported second-quarter profit attributable to equityholders of the bank of 3.38 billion riyals, up from 2.91 billion riyals in thesame period a year ago. Net interest income rose year over year to 5.61 billionriyals from 3.22 billion riyals.


* TheEgyptian central bank maintained the local currency stable at 8.78 Egyptian poundsto $1 at Tuesday's regular currency auction, Ahram Online reports,citing Middle East News Agency. Analysts and bankers were expecting the centralbank to devalue the pound after Governor Tarek Amer made remarks that thecentral bank had made a mistake by defending the pound over the last few years,Daily News Egypt says.

* Moody'snoted that Egypt's economic position remains unstable due to the country'sexternal vulnerability and remaining structural weaknesses, Daily News Egypt reported. Data from the Central Bank of Egypt for thethree quarters ended June 30 showed Egypt's current account deficit at $14.5billion, or 6.7% of GDP, compared to $8.3 billion, or 5.3% of GDP, a year ago.

* Takafulfirms grabbed 11.46% of total insurance premiums in Egypt in the first fourmonths of the year, posting direct premiums of 825.7 million pounds, accordingto an Egyptian FSA report citedby Amwal Al Ghad. Insurance firms inEgypt saw a 27.4% year-over-year rise in premiums in the first four months to7.2 billion pounds.

* TheEgyptian FSA will next week review two lawsuits filed by againstthe Egyptian Exchange over the repeated cancellation of Beltone's sharetransactions on the exchange, accordingto Daily News Egypt.

*The isexpected to sign a deal to provide Tunisia with €268 million in funding tostrengthen and modernize the nation's financial sector, L'Economiste Maghrébin wrote.

S&PGlobal Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&PGlobal Inc.

Pádraig Beltoncontributed to this report.