GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates' minister of state for foreign affairs, said he expects the diplomatic row between several Arab states and Qatar to continue this year, Bloomberg News reported. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar in June 2017 over allegations of the latter supporting terrorism.
* Invest Bank PSC
* Emirates Islamic Bank PJSC
* Saudi British Bank and Alawwal Bank
* Saudi Arabia's Capital Market Authority greenlighted Gulf Union Co-operative Insurance Co.'s request to increase its capital to 241.9 million riyals from 150 million riyals by issuing 9,193,548 ordinary shares to acquire all the shares of Al Ahlia Insurance Co. for Cooperative Insurance
* Qatar First Bank LLC (Public)
* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority renewed its initial approval allowing Warba Bank KSCP
* Separately, Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority revoked the license and liquidated Al-Muthanna Islamic Index Fund.
* Gulf Investment House KSCP has
* Kuwait's Capital Markets Authority is set to appoint Khalaf al-Jassim head of its complaints and grievances committee, replacing Adnan Sultan, Al-Qabas wrote.
* First Investment Co. KSCP
* Gulf Insurance Group KSCP obtained regulatory approval to buy and sell no more than 10% of its issued shares for a period of 6 months.
* Bahrain's Khaleeji Commercial Bank BSC
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Israel's banking regulator will ask the Bank of Israel governor to issue a license for U.S. private equity company Warburg Pincus LLC's 2.5 billion shekels purchase of Bank Leumi le-Israel BM credit card unit Leumi Card Ltd. Israel's two top banking institutions Bank Hapoalim BM
* Israeli lenders will be required to report foreign residents with bank accounts in Israel to tax authorities of their home countries, after the Middle Eastern nation agreed to implement the automatic exchange of information, or AEOI, standard, Globes reported.
* Iran's Guardian Council, which is in charge of reviewing and approving legislation passed by parliament, has again rejected an anti-terrorism financing bill aimed at improving the country's banking sector to bring it in line with international standards, Bloomberg wrote, citing Tasnim News Agency.
* Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil warned that the country's current state of economic crisis could turn into a financial one due to the ongoing political deadlock, Reuters reported. Lebanon has yet to finalize a government since the parliamentary elections in May 2018.
* Egypt expects to receive this month the fifth tranche, worth $2 billion, of its three-year, $12 billion loan program with the IMF, Reuters reported.
* Tunisian Islamic lender Wifak International Bank SA will issue sukuk worth 150 million dinars over the next three years to finance its activities, Agence Ecofin wrote.
* Shareholders in Société d’Assurances Multirisques Ittihad AMI approved a plan to issue equity securities worth 35 million Tunisian dinars, which will be reserved for the insurance compnay's main shareholder, Banque Nationale Agricole, Agence Ecofin reported.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* First National Bank Ghana Ltd.
* Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd. took over customers of the Ghanaian unit of India-based Bank of Baroda, insiders told Graphic Online. The arrangement reportedly allowed for the unit's closure on Dec. 31, 2018, with an official announcement expected today.
* United Bank for Africa (Ghana) Ltd. appointed Isong Udom its new managing director, effective Jan. 1, Joy Online reported. Udom replaces Abiola Bawuah, who will take up a new role as regional CEO of UBA West Africa.
* CalBank Ltd.
* S&P Global Ratings revised to stable from negative the outlook on Diamond Bank PLC
* The European Union and the World Bank cut financial aid to Tanzania amid concerns about the Tanzanian government's crackdown on human rights, according to Agence France-Presse.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Manuel Chang, Mozambique's finance minister between 2005 and 2015, was arrested in South Africa at the request of U.S. authorities, who are seeking his extradition, African News Agency reported. Chang is facing charges of wire fraud, money laundering and securities fraud.
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Angola's B/B long- and short term foreign- and local-currency issuer default rating and removed them from Rating Watch Evolving. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.
* Insurance companies' activities in Mozambique contracted in the third quarter of 2018 to 2.9 billion meticais from roughly 3.1 billion meticais in the previous quarter, O País wrote. The result was driven by the non-life segment, particularly automobile insurance.
* Marème Mbaye Ndiaye has been named director general of Société Générale Cameroun, Financial Afrik reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Sumitomo affiliate, Toyota unit to form JV; India's LIC names acting chair
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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