GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* Economic activity in the GCC will continue to be driven by mounting government spending, which will lessen challenges for the region's corporate sector, according to Fitch Ratings.
* AXA Cooperative Insurance Co.'s shareholders approved an 11.11% capital increase to 500 million Saudi Arabian riyals from 450 million riyals through the issuance of bonus shares. The capital hike aims to boost the company's capital base, boost solvency margin and support future growth, the insurer said in a bourse statement.
* Bank AlJazira's extraordinary general meeting approved authorizing the board of directors to distribute interim dividends to shareholders on a quarterly or biannual basis for the year 2020.
* Talat Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee for Saudi Banks, said Saudi Arabian lenders have complied with the central bank's order to calculate the cost of finance based on the declining balance of financing agreements, Argaam reported.
* Saudi Indian Company for Cooperative Insurance Wafa Insuranceexpects the release of its financial results for the period ended June 30 to be delayed to not later than Jan. 30, 2020, Mubasher reported.
* Moody's assigned a Baa2 insurance financial strength rating to Saudi Arabia-based property and casualty insurer Malath Cooperative Insurance Co., with a stable outlook.
* U.K.-based insurance broker Howden Broking Group Ltd.has raised its investment in the United Arab Emirates and partnered with Abu Dhabi-based Guardian Insurance Brokers LLC.
* United Arab Emirates-based Noor Bank PJSC closed in April the accounts of a secret offshore company owned by Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who is accused of complicity in the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, two banking officials told Reuters.
* Moody's affirmed Kuwait-based Warba Bank KSCP's long- and short-term deposit ratings at Baa2/Prime-2, among other affirmations. The agency also changed the outlook on the bank's long-term rating to positive from stable.
* Al Aman Investment Company - K.P.S.C.'s board of directors recommended to the extraordinary general meeting to approve its merger with The Securities House K.S.C.P., with a swap share ratio of 1.40252722315358 of Securities House for every share of Al Aman Investment.
* Qatar National Bank (QPSC) has launched its global innovation center, QNBeyond, in Istanbul. The innovation center is aimed at future-proofing the group's banking business through digitalization and automation, as well as promoting new startups and financial technology companies.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* The Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange Ltd. is considering a plan to boost liquidity and improve transparency, including imposing restrictions on off-exchange transactions similar to international standards, as well as encouraging market-making in major shares.
* Israel Securities Authority Chair Anat Guetta said she expects U.S.-based Jefferies Financial Group Inc., which became a member of the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange in June, to help increase the number of IPOs from local high tech companies on the exchange, Reuters wrote.
* Iranian lawmakers ratified a draft version of a set of banking rules, which includes a proposal to establish the Islamic Republic of Iran Development Bank as well as a scheme to revise the country's decades-old banking laws, Financial Tribune wrote.
* Morocco's central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 2.25%, saying it considers that the rate remains appropriate based on its assessments of recent economic developments and macroeconomic forecasts for the next eight quarters.
* The former CEO of Islamic financing entity Banque Zitouna SA, Ezzedine Khoja, has been approached as a potential candidate to become Tunisia's minister of finance, IlBoursa reported.
* Sudan-based Nile Bank struck a deal with U.S. software company Oracle Corp. for the provision of a mobile banking platform, Reuters reported, citing a statement by Sudan's CTC Group. In October 2017, the U.S. lifted certain sanctions against Sudan but left some restrictions in place.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Nigeria's central bank introduced a new category of bank verification numbers called BVN Lite, which it said is aimed at helping capture financially excluded people in the country, Business Post wrote, citing central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.
* Nigeria-based Royal Exchange Plc named Olawale Omotunde Banmore and John Chukwudi Iwuajoku group managing director and group executive director in charge of operations, respectively, effective Dec. 4.
* Kenya-based CIC Insurance Group Ltd. warned that it expects net profit for the financial year ending Dec. 31 to be more than 25% lower compared to a year earlier, citing a high level of claims, The Kenyan Wall Street reported.
* Ezekiel Annor, secretary of Ghana's Coalition of Affected Savings and Loans Customers, said the receiver of the 23 Ghanaian savings and loans companies that had their licenses revoked earlier this year does not have enough funds to pay depositors of the insolvent firms, Joy Online reported.
* The Bank of Ghana has ordered banks to establish credit profiles of their customers in a bid to improve transparency in their determination of lending rates and reduce interest charges on loans, Joy Online wrote.
* The Ghanaian government is set to launch a roadshow in January 2020 for a eurobond issuance of up to $3 billion, Joy Online reported.
* South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar struck an agreement to establish a unity government by the middle of February 2020, Bloomberg News reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* South African insurer Liberty Holdings Ltd. said the disposal of its 100% stake in Stanlib Ghana Ltd. to Standard Bank Group Ltd. unit Stanbic Africa Holdings Ltd. was formally completed Dec. 13 after all conditions precedent to the sale were met.
* A South African court ruled against several credit providers, including Bayport Financial Services Pty Ltd and Finbond Group Ltd., on a case related to their overcharging on legal fees and interest in breach of the National Credit Act, Moneyweb wrote.
* Old Mutual Ltd.'s ongoing feud with former CEO Peter Moyo could distract the South African insurer from acting on mounting competition and handling weak economic growth, Bloomberg News wrote.
* South Africa's Financial Sector Conduct Authority warned against investing or receiving financial advice from House of Monopoly (Pty.) Ltd., saying the company is not authorized to provide such services, Moneyweb wrote.
* Namibia's Supreme Court warned local insurers against defying a law requiring them to insure part of their business with Namibia National Reinsurance Corp., Middle East Insurance Review wrote, citing local media reports.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: ANZ New Zealand names CEO; China to increase fintech regulation
Europe: Big UK banks pass stress test; UBS to revamp unit; UniCredit off-loads bad loans
Latin America: Brazil's Banco Postal shuts down; S&P cuts Bolivia's outlook
North America: Goldman forms investments group; more auditor independence rule changes may come
Global Insurance: ACA enrollment extension; P&C outlook; Ireland motor premiums
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.