* Chinese President Xi Jinping said China will extend $20 billion in loans and roughly $106 million in financial aid to Middle East countries to stimulate economic growth in the region, The Business Times reported. Jinping added that a consortium of banks from China and Arab nations, which will have a dedicated fund of $3 billion, will be set up.
* The World Bank has named Hafez Ghanem vice president for the African region, replacing Makhtar Diop, Fratmat wrote.
* U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has urged Berlin to block Iran from withdrawing millions of euros from German bank accounts to curb the impact of new U.S. sanctions, Reuters reported.
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL
* First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, Al Waha Capital PJSC, United Arab Bank PJSC, Al Buhaira National Insurance Co. PSC and Emirates Insurance Co. PSC have disclosed limited direct or indirect exposures to Abraaj Group Ltd., The National reported. Commercial Bank of Dubai PSC, Mashreq Bank, Société Générale SA and Commercial Bank International PSC also have significant exposures to the struggling private equity firm, insiders told Khaleej Times.
* Meanwhile, Cerberus Capital Management LP and Colony Capital Inc. have set out new bids for Abraaj funds, insiders told Bloomberg News. Cerberus reportedly offered to buy all of the Dubai-based private equity firm's funds but did not make an offer to buy the limited partnership stakes in the underlying funds, while Colony revised its offer for several funds and its limited partnership interests in the underlying funds.
* Abraaj founder Arif Naqvi has reached an out-of-court settlement with a creditor in a criminal case over a bounced check, his lawyer Habib al-Mulla told The National.
* Fitch Ratings assigned United Arab Emirates-based Ajman Bank PJSC BBB+/F2 long- and short-term issuer default ratings, a "b+" viability rating, a 2 support rating and a BBB+ support rating floor, with a stable outlook on the long-term issuer rating.
* The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has urged insurance firms and banks to deal only with licensed real estate evaluation experts to avoid any irregularities, Al Eqtisadiah reported.
* The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has issued new regulations aimed at protecting local banks from risks that may occur in foreign countries, Argaam reported. The new regulation includes 10 clauses that revolve around protecting banks, risk assessment and management, among other things.
* Ghazal Insurance Co. CEO and head of the technical committee at Gulf Insurance Federation, Dawood Tawfik, said his company is undergoing a restructuring plan and has hired U.S.-listed firm Talent United to review certain reinsurance contracts signed over the last seven months, Al-Seyassah reported.
* KFH Takaful appointed Kutaiba al-Nisf CEO, Al-Anba reported.
* Almadar Finance and Investment Co. named Ahmed al-Bahr acting CEO.
REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
* Iran has abandoned efforts to set a single foreign exchange rate for the Iranian rial against the U.S. dollar after it formally opened a new secondary market for hard currency, Reuters reported.
* Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri vowed that the country will sell as much oil as it can and protect its banking system, Reuters wrote.
* Israel Discount Bank Ltd. named Yaakov Zano and Arik Frishman executive vice presidents, with Zano to head the bank's technologies and operations division while Frishman will head its new digital and data division. Zano will take over from Levy Halevy, who has been named CEO of unit Israel Credit Cards Ltd.
* German development bank KfW has agreed a new €100 million loan for the Tunisian government, aimed at helping support reform in the banking and financial sectors, Financial Afrik wrote.
EAST AND WEST AFRICA
* Hundreds of Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd.'s customers were unable to access key services due to a two-day information and communications technology outage at the bank, following the transition of its banking platform to Mauritian bank SBM Holdings Ltd.'s new platform, Business Daily Africa reported.
* The Bank of Ghana has issued a directive determining whether an individual is fit to be a director, a significant shareholder or to hold a key management role within financial firms, Citi Business News reported.
* Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor Edward Adamu said the country's financial sector requires regulatory buffers to boost banks' ability to prepare for possible shocks, The Nation reported.
* Ethiopia's Public Financial Enterprises Agency named Bacha Gina president of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, replacing Bekalu Zeleke, who is leaving the position after almost 10 years to join the National Bank of Ethiopia as vice governor.
* U.K.-based CDC Group plc has informed DFCU Ltd.'s top management that it is reviewing its investment in the Ugandan bank and that the move could lead to the disposal of some or all of its shares, The Observer reported. Dutch investment firm Arise BV, DFCU's majority shareholder, earlier confirmed its commitment to the bank, with CEO Deepak Malik denying reports that Arise intends to relinquish its stake in DFCU, The Tower Post wrote.
* Meanwhile, the Bank of Uganda is looking to determine DFCU's financial position following allegations that the bank is struggling to raise credit funds after CDC Group's announcement that it could exit the bank and the resignation of Arise CEO Deepak Malik from the bank's board, insiders told PML Daily.
* Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to restore diplomatic and economic relations following a summit between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, Bloomberg News reported.
CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
* Angola's state-controlled Banco de Comércio e Indústria SA is set to boost its share capital by 6.4 billion kwanzas to about 39 billion kwanzas, according to Chairman Filomeno Ceita, state news agency Angop reported. He said the bank's default rate remained high at 26%, but said that it had not forced it to halt lending activity. Under central bank's rules due to take effect in 2019, all lenders must increase their minimum share capital to 7.5 billion kwanzas from 2.5 billion kwanzas at present.
* Angolan payment processor and ATM network Empresa Interbancária de Serviços launched a bank card for Chinese residents that will allow them to make unlimited foreign-currency transactions, CEO José Gualberto de Matos said, according to Angop.
* Grindrod Bank Ltd., a unit of South African freight firm Grindrod Ltd., aims to retain as many as possible of the 5.4 million accounts it is expected to lose due to South Africa's decision to appoint a new distributor of welfare grants, Bloomberg News reported. David Polkinghorne, Grindrod Bank's managing director, said the lender's profit will likely drop by 20% if it could not retain welfare beneficiaries as customers in some capacity.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Asia-Pacific: Hong Kong fines Citigroup unit; PNB, Carlyle Group to sell stake in PNB Housing
Europe: UK Brexit turmoil continues; new CEO at TP Icap; Bank of Cyprus sells UK ops
Latin America: Uruguay proposes crowdfunding rules; Panama, China in free trade talks
North America: Regulators release living wills; ex-Goldman Sachs banker seeks plea deal
Global Insurance: US P&C rates up; Liberty Specialty buys some Ironshore EU biz; Japan flood loss
Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Helen Popper contributed to this report.
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