MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Moody's changed the outlook on Qatar's banking system to negative from stable, citing the deteriorating operating conditions and the continued funding pressure faced by the country's banks. The negative outlook also reflects the potential weakening capacity of the Qatari government to support local banks.
* Bill Winters, CEO of U.K.-based Standard Chartered Plc, has warned that Dubai's position as a financial center may be negatively impacted by the United Arab Emirates' and other Arab states' ongoing rift with Qatar, Reuters reported. The executive said the city may find it increasingly hard to serve as a comprehensive regional hub for global firms' Gulf operations if the standoff continues.
* The Dubai International Financial Centre and its regulator, the Dubai International Financial Services Authority, are working on a regulatory framework for the crowdfunding industry that is expected to improve the availability of the service to small and medium-sized enterprises in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East, Gulf News reported.
* The total number of bank branches operating in the UAE declined to 838 in the first half from 862 in the same period in 2016, Argaam reported.
* Meanwhile, data from the Central Bank of the UAE showed that the number of ATMs in the country rose by 2% to 5,219 at the end of the first half from 5,118 a year earlier, state news agency WAM reported. The increase reflects the banking sector's move towards automation as part of efforts to optimize costs and streamline operations.
* Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C. reported second-quarter consolidated net income attributable to equity holders of the parent of $35.7 million, down from $43.6 million a year earlier. For the first half, attributable net income came in at $69.7 million, compared to the year-ago $81.4 million. The group said it plans to start its activities in Morocco under the name BTI Bank.
* First Takaful Insurance Co. KSC (Public) has appointed Hamed Mohamed Alaiban chairman of the board and Saleh Saleh Al-Selmi vice chairman.
* Al Hilal Bank PJSC has raised $100 million via a private placement of Islamic bond, insiders told Reuters. The lender's privately placed $225 million sukuk issuance in June last year is due to mature in January 2019, while the new issue is due August of the same year.
* Bank AlJazira renewed a one-year agreement with Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. to offer collective insurance services for the lender's personal financing portfolio. The deal, which is worth approximately 16.6 million Saudi Arabian riyals, is expected to be reflected on the bank's 2017-2018 financial results, Argaam noted.
* Egypt's investment ministry said Mohamed Farid Saleh was appointed the new chairman of the country's stock exchange, replacing Mohamed Omran, whose term will end this week, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Egyptian Exchange Vice Chairman Mohsen Adel said the country expects to see three to five IPOs of large and medium-sized companies before the end of the year. Adel added that the stock market will be focusing on attracting new firms over the next few years by introducing new financial instruments such as Islamic financing and converting to a full digital quote system.
* National Bank of Egypt (SAE) Deputy Chairman Yehia Aboul Fotouh said the lender has raised roughly 300 billion pounds from its high-yield certificates of deposit from when the central bank floated the pound in November last year to July this year, Amwal Al Ghad reported.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Uganda's central bank has dismissed reports that it hid money in a secret foreign bank account. The Bank of Uganda said the reports misrepresented some of the information that it provided to a parliament committee in response to issues raised by the auditor general, including information pertaining to a dormant trust account held by the regulator in Deutsche Bank in Germany.
* Crane Bank Ltd. has spent millions of dollars on nonexistent IT software and services, Banking Technology wrote, citing a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers into mismanagement at the failed lender.
* Union Bank of Nigeria Plc expects to finalize its 50 billion naira share sale by year-end and aims to secure approval from regulators for the issue this quarter, Reuters noted. CEO Emeka Emuwa added that the mid-tier lender will be focusing on providing loans to the agriculture and real estate industry, and stressed that the bank has adequate cover for its 3.9 billion naira loan to telecoms group 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* The South African Reserve Bank said it imposed administrative sanctions on VBS Mutual Bank after it found weaknesses in the lender's control measures for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. The regulator fined the lender 2.5 million rand and ordered it to take remedial action.
* The South African rand rose by as much as 1.7% yesterday after Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete allowed a vote of no-confidence in President Jacob Zuma to be held through a secret ballot, which raises the chances of his departure, Reuters reported. The parliament is set to vote on the motion today.
* Data from the South African Reserve Bank showed that the country's net foreign reserves has reached $42.41 billion in July, up from $42.24 billion a month earlier. Gross reserves declined to $46.75 billion from $47.35 billion, while the forward position rose to $3.13 billion from $2.46 billion.
* Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. acquired a 15% interest in South Africa-based mobile operator Cell C Ltd. for 2 billion rand and a 45% interest in DNI-4PL Contracts Ltd., which distributes Cell C subscriber packs and prepaid airtime, for 945 million rand.
* Banco Sol SA has launched Sol Seguros, a new company that specializes in insurance products, Angola Press reported.
* Banco de Poupança e Crédito SA is going through a restructuring process aimed at improving institutional and commercial relations with customers and at restoring market confidence, Angola Press wrote.
* A public offer to sell the shares of Ecobank Côte d'Ivoire will be launched in around two months' time, Fratmat reported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: US agency fines Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ; Bank of India to sell nonbank firm
Europe: UBI Banca swings to profit; Banco BPM sells unit; Goldman to sell Rothesay stake
Latin America: Caixa revises outsourcing rules; IRB-Brasil income up 15%
North America: Goldman said to sell stake in UK insurer; CLSA sued over unpaid bonuses
North America Insurance: McConnell mulls bipartisan plan to pay insurers; Berkshire's underwriting loss
Sheryl Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano contributed to this report.
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