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Saudi, UAE banks halt dealings with Qatari peers; South Africa in recession

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* A number of banks in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are said to have suspended their business dealings with their Qatari counterparts due to the diplomatic dispute in the region. Banking sources told Reuters that the lenders have delayed deals as they wait for guidance from their respective regulators on how to handle business with Qatar. The central banks of the UAE and Bahrain reportedly asked banks to provide details of their exposure to Qatari lenders.

* Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has ordered local banks to stop buying Qatari rial amid the diplomatic dispute in the Middle East, Al-Qabas reported. A number of banks in Sri Lanka have also refrained from buying Qatari rial, saying their Singapore counterparts have advised them not to accept the currency, Reuters reported. The Sri Lankan central bank has denied instructing banks not to accept Qatari rials following local media reports.

* Qatar National Bank (Q.P.S.C.) and Central Bank of Egypt Governor Tarek Amer have both reassured clients that QNB deposits are safe, and that the bank's Egyptian activities will not be affected by the severance of diplomatic relations between Qatar and several countries, including Egypt, Daily News Egypt reported.

* Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the country will not take sides in the diplomatic dispute between Qatar and other Gulf countries, Reuters wrote.

* National Commercial Bank completed the issuance of 1.3 billion Saudi Arabian riyals in subordinated Additional Tier 1 Islamic bonds through a private placement offer in Saudi Arabia. The bank said the sukuk issuance will strengthen its capital base in accordance with Basel III banking regulations and extend the maturity profile of its liabilities while diversifying its sources of funding.

* Bahrain-based Investcorp SA has completed the acquisition of Nordic telematics firm ABAX Group from Norvestor VI LP for approximately 1.8 billion Norwegian kroner. The deal marks Investcorp's fourth investment in the telematics sector globally in the past 18 months.

* GFH Financial Group B.S.C CEO Hisham al-Rayes said his company is still looking for acquisition opportunities in the UAE despite the collapse of talks over the acquisition of SHUAA Capital PSC, Al-Bayan reported.

* Alizz Islamic Bank SAOG said it is interested in a potential merger with fellow Oman-based lender United Finance Co. SAOG.

* Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to approve a stamp duty tax on the country's stock market tomorrow, Daily News Egypt reported. The IMF had called on Egypt to impose either capital gains tax or a stamp duty on stock market transactions.

* Iran is sending various economic and trade delegations to Kenya July 4-7 as it seeks to establish banking cooperation with the African nation, IRNA wrote.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* The capping of interest rates and a slowdown in lending have led to the decline in Kenyan banks' profits in the three months ended March 31, The Standard wrote. Eight of the country's 10 largest banks recorded an average of 11.33% dip in profits in the period, with only Commercial Bank of Africa Ltd. and Diamond Trust Bank Kenya Ltd. reporting increases in profits.

* The Central Bank of Kenya's next monetary policy committee meeting will be held July 17.

* Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Ltd. will shift 60 million Ghanaian cedis from its retained earnings to its stated capital to comply with the Bank of Ghana's minimum capital requirement of 120 million cedis, Ghana News Agency noted.

* The Nigerian government is seeking parliamentary approval to borrow $1.5 billion from international lenders to finance projects in some of the country's states, Reuters noted.

* Macau businessman David Chow plans to open a bank in Cape Verde and will present a formal application to the country's central bank within six months, Macauhub and Expresso Das Ilhas reported. The bank would be called Banco Sino-Atlântico.

* Mauritania's ministry of foreign affairs said yesterday that the country has also severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, Reuters reported, citing the Mauritanian Information Agency. The move follows Jordan's announcement that it will scale back its diplomatic ties with Qatar and revoke the license of Doha-based TV channel Al Jazeera, Reuters noted.

* The West African Economic and Monetary Union has a new commissioner in charge of territorial administration, infrastructure and transport in former Ivorian minister Paul Koffi Koffi, Jeune Afrique reported.

* NSIA Banque Côte d'Ivoire has received a 15 billion CFA franc loan agreement from the West African Development Bank, Financial Afrik reported.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* South Africa's economy has slumped into its first recession since 2009, Bloomberg News reported. Data from Statistics South Africa showed that the country's GDP receded an annualized 0.7% in the first quarter following a contraction of 0.3% contraction in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Treasury said the current negative economic growth poses a risk to the country's fiscal targets and puts pressure on the government to strengthen growth initiatives as a matter of urgency, Reuters reported.

* South Africa's Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi dismissed a report accusing him of improperly benefitting from tenders during his tenure as chairman of the state-owned rail services company, Reuters reported. Allegations of corruption by government officials have escalated following the leak of more than 100,000 emails and documents that purportedly indicate inappropriate meddling in the issuance of lucrative tenders.

* Robin Vela, chairman of Zimbabwe's National Social Security Authority said it is a "shame" that a buyout offer by Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Ltd.'s management lost out to Malawi-based First Merchant Bank Ltd.'s bid, Bloomberg News reported. The offer by the bank's Zimbabwean managers has already secured funding from the country's social security agency; however, parent Barclays Plc deemed management buyouts as rarely successful and was more comfortable selling the business to First Merchant Bank as it already has operations in the region, insiders told the newswire.

* Angolan Finance Minister Archer Mangueira has established a committee to monitor the ongoing restructuring and recapitalization process at troubled state lender Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA, state news agency Angop reported. The committee will be required to submit monthly evaluations to the government "in order to safeguard the state's interests," the report said.

* Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd. CEO Alain Law Min said the bank aims to earn half its income through international operations by 2020, up from 40% this year, L'Express said.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: CIMB Group to sell 50% brokerage stake; QBE Insurance moving EU base to Brussels

Europe: More insurers pick post-Brexit EU bases; Banco Popular meeting with ECB

Latin America: Chile central bank cuts 2017 growth forecast; Temer campaign trial begins

North America: Trump to nominate former banker as OCC head; 2 Pennsylvania banks merging

North America Insurance: Senate eyes July vote on health bill; more states may follow NY move to keep ACA

Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton, 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.