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Sudan names finance minister; Moody's sees slim chance of South Africa downgrade

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Sudan names finance minister; Moody's sees slim chance of South Africa downgrade

GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL

* The Dubai Financial Services Authority named Bryan Stirewalt CEO, effective Oct. 1. He replaces Ian Johnston, who is retiring.

* A.M. Best affirmed the A- (Excellent) financial strength rating and "a-" long-term issuer credit rating of United Arab Emirates-based Alliance Insurance PSC, with a stable outlook.

REST OF MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

* The Jordanian government has maintained the tax rate on banks at 35% instead of raising it to 40% as earlier proposed, Al Ghad reported.

* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani appointed former Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif as his new adviser for financial and banking affairs, Trend News Agency reported, citing IRNA.

* The European Investment Fund made its first equity investment in Israel by pumping $20 million in the ICV III venture capital fund to support Israeli seed and early stage companies.

* Bank Leumi le-Israel BM expects to launch online portfolio management unit Videa, which will offer robo-advisory service to customers, in October, Globes reported.

* Capital Intelligence Ratings affirmed the BB+ financial strength rating of Lebanon-based Fransabank SAL, with a stable outlook.

* The Sudanese government named Abdullah Hamduk minister of finance, among other appointments, Reuters reported. President Omar al-Bashir previously said the number of ministers will be reduced by a third to cut government spending as part of efforts to deal with the country's growing economic concerns, including soaring inflation and a severe shortage in hard currency.

* United Bank SAE Chairman Ashraf el-Kady said the lender is seeking to increase its credit portfolio to 12.8 billion Egyptian pounds from 12.3 billion pounds by the end of the year, Mubasher reported.

* Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l'Industrie plans to invest $9.5 million in its IT operations through 2020, Agence Ecofin reported.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

* Kenya's $1.5 billion standby loan deal with the IMF expired yesterday, but Kenyan Finance Minister Henry Rotich said the government will continue talks with the fund and enter into a new arrangement if necessary, Bloomberg News wrote.

* Former Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd. Chairman Mohammed Zafrulla Khan, lawmaker Patrick Musimba and several other individuals were charged with stealing more than 1.15 billion Kenyan shillings from the bank between January 2015 and March 2016, according to Daily Nation.

* South Sudanese President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, with the latter returning to his former role as vice president, Reuters reported. The agreement, which is part of efforts to end the civil war in the country, will not be enacted until May 2019 at the earliest, Bloomberg News noted.

* Banks in Cote d'Ivoire rejected cocoa regulator Le Conseil du Café-Cacao's bid of 80 billion CFA francs for the assets of exporter Saf-Cacao, which is under a court-ordered liquidation, saying the offer undervalued the company's assets, Bloomberg wrote. The banks want to continue talks with the Ivorian government to halt Saf-Cacao's liquidation, which has left them exposed to a large amount of unpaid loans.

* Ghanaian financial technology firm Zeepay has partnered with MoneyGram to launch a mobile money service platform allowing direct transfer of international remittances into mobile wallets, according to Ghana Web.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Moody's said there is "little chance" that it would downgrade South Africa's ratings this year, according to Reuters. The agency warned, however, that the country must keep its finances tight in order to keep its long-term foreign-currency debt at investment grade in the longer term.

* Separately, Moody's said it expects South Africa's new regulations for the insurance sector, known as Solvency Assessment and Management, to improve insurers' risk management and resilience.

* Analysts polled by Reuters expect the South African Reserve Bank to maintain interest rates at 6.50% in the near term at next week's monetary policy committee meeting. However, the central bank is also anticipated to raise rates soon as a result of local-currency weakness.

* Economists said South Africa could potentially exit recession in the third quarter but noted that "dismal" economic growth is still expected for the full year, based on data for the first month of the quarter released by Statistics South Africa, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene said the government intends to pursue a prudent fiscal policy to stabilize the country's debt-to-GDP ratio, Reuters wrote.

* Absa Group Ltd., formerly Barclays Africa Group, has launched its office in the U.K., where it trades as Absa Securities UK.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed South Africa-based Capitec Bank Ltd.'s BB/B long- and short-term foreign- and local-currency issuer credit ratings, as well as its zaAA/zaA-1+ long- and short-term South Africa national scale ratings. The outlook is stable.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific: China Renaissance sets Hong Kong IPO price range; Anbang sells securities unit

Europe: Natixis to sell units to parent for €2.7B; DNB, Nordea to off-load Luminor stake

Latin America: Bicapital cancels US IPO; general manager of Chile's Bupa leaves

North America: Dimon backtracks on claims he could beat Trump; Citi hikes ROTCE targets

Global Insurance: Florence weakens; China Re seals Chaucer deal; Axa-XL completes

Deza Mones, Henni Abdelghani, Sophie Davies and Mariana Aldano 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.