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Bahrain's Al Salam Bank denies merger rumors; Africa growth risks increasing


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Bahrain's Al Salam Bank denies merger rumors; Africa growth risks increasing

* The threats to Africa's economic growth due to the trade tension between the U.S. and China and the uncertainty surrounding the U.K.'s exit from the EU are "increasing by the day," African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told Reuters. He added that the lender could review its economic growth projection for the continent if global external shocks escalate.


* Kuwait's Public Institute for Social Security has given initial approval to the merger of Kuwait Finance House KSCP and Bahrain's Ahli United Bank BSC, Islamic Business & Finance reported. Wafra International Investment Co. also affirmed its approval to open the books of both banks and start the merger process.

* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority said Osool Investment's license to exercise the activities of investment controller has expired.

* Al Salam Bank-Bahrain BSC denied news that it is exploring a potential merger with Mashreqbank PSC, describing the published article as "incorrect." Bahraini newspaper Al-Watan had earlier reported on the rumored combination.

* Oman issued $3 billion in two tranches of international bonds, according to a Mubasher report carried by Thomson Reuters' Zawya. The first tranche amounted to $750 million, with a five-year tenor, while the second tranche was a 10-year bond of $2.25 billion.

* Oman-based The Financial Corp. Co. SAOG is no longer pursuing its plan to form a strategic alliance with Al Maha Financial Services LLC.

* The United Arab Emirates' Securities and Commodities Authority imposed a fine on Al Ramz Corp. for not ensuring the ability of a client to cover his buy positions before the settlement date, in addition to performing transactions that affected clients' accounts, Argaam reported.

* Kuwait Investment Authority, the state's sovereign wealth fund, has been shoring up its exposure to bonds and cash over the last two years to boost liquidity in its portfolio amid a weakening of the global economy, Reuters wrote, citing newspaper Al-Qabas. The fund reportedly manages $592 billion in assets.


* The central banks of Iran and Afghanistan are exploring ways to resolve disputes that weigh on the banking ties between both countries, the Financial Tribune reported, citing Hossein Salimi, head of the Iran-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce. Iran had adopted a new approach that supports trade with neighboring countries in light of sanctions imposed by the U.S.

* The Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority granted Banque Misr (SAE) an investment banking license, allowing the lender to start promotional activities and cover underwriting activities, Ahram Online wrote.

* The government committee in charge of selecting a new CEO for Tunisia's Banque de l'Habitat SAL has shortlisted three candidates, with Imededdine Chérif tipped as the favorite, IlBoursa reported.


* The number of employees at KCB Group PLC fell to 5,980 as of June-end from 6,220 as of 2018-end, a seven-year low for the bank, but CEO Joshua Oigara said the decline was expected due to its digitalization push, Business Daily Africa reported. Oigara, who also chairs the Kenya Bankers Association, added that the industry "will see less and less jobs" as digital investments increase.

* Kenya's central bank issued a warning against unlicensed online foreign exchange dealers and platforms, noting that such firms have inadequate anti-money laundering and consumer protection controls. The regulator asked the public to verify on its website companies that they are transacting with.

* The Kenyan Treasury has exempted from paying share transfer tax the resulting entity from the merger of Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. and NIC Group PLC, according to Business Daily Africa. The tax would have been equivalent to 1% of the value of the unquoted stocks in the share swap.

* Nigeria-based AIICO Insurance Plc named Babatunde Fajemirokun as managing director and CEO, effective Aug. 14. He replaced Edwin Igbiti, who retired July 11.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed the A- long-term issuer credit and insurer financial strength ratings of Nigeria's African Reinsurance Corp., with a stable outlook. The agency also affirmed the A- financial strength credit rating of African Reinsurance Corp. South Africa Ltd., with a stable outlook.

* The Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Unit in Nigeria has called for more transparency in foreign exchange trading, The Punch reported.


* South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has enacted the National Credit Amendment Bill, which would allow the full or partial suspension of payments by over-indebted clients for up to 24 months, Bloomberg News reported. The new law drew criticism from several industries, including the banking sector, as it could lead to an increase in loan costs for low-income borrowers, restrict lending and enable bad behavior from clients.

* The South African Reserve Bank could keep its key interest rate during the monetary policy committee's next two meetings for 2019, owing to volatile exchange rates and a rebound in the economy against a looser global monetary policy, South Africa's Business Day noted.


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Erin Tanchico, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano 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.