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Troubled Congo bank attracts interest; Nigerian central bank hikes rate

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTHAFRICA

Cautiouslending policy at GCC banks: The banking sector in Bahrain and the GulfCooperation Council in general is adopting a cautious policy in terms of lendingand financing projects as banks aim to maintain liquidity to meet the Basel IIIrequirement for them to have a minimum common equity Tier 1 ratio not less thanthree times the size of their lending, Bahrain News Agency writes, citing Ghazali Inam,global head of corporate finance at the Arab Bank.

* Research from the Arab Monetary Fund showed that Islamicbanking has grown considerably across the world with an asset of more than $1.5trillion and an average composed growth rate of 17% per year, Addustour reports.

* In May, Saudi Arabia's acquisition of U.S. Treasury bondsdeclined by $9.3 billion to $103.7 billion, Argaam reports,citing data from the U.S. Treasury Department. The United Arab Emirates'acquisition of U.S. Treasury bonds increased by $1.7 billion to $61.8 billion,while Kuwait maintained its holdings at $30.9 billion.

* The head of Saudi Arabia national transportationcommission, Saudi Al-Nafaei, said his organization is currently coordinatingwith government agencies and insurance companies to review motor insuranceprices, which are considered "very high" compared with those inneighboring countries, Al-Youm reports.

* reportedfirst-half net profit of 70.9 million dinars, up from 62.3 million dinars inthe year-ago period. Meanwhile, the company said it appointedAhmed Saudi Al-Kharji president of finance.

* 's lawsuitagainst the U.K. Treasury over sanctions imposed on the lender in 2009 isslated to be heard on the U.K. High Court in October, the Financial Tribune writes.The bank is seeking $4 billion in damages from the Treasury.

* Bank of Israel Supervisor ofBanks Hedva Ber released a draft circular changing the way restrictions oncredit are measured by sector in a bid to increase banks' supply of credit tothe infrastructure and real estate industries, Globes writes.

* The Egyptian central bank keptthe local currency stable at 8.78 pounds to the U.S. dollar in yesterday'sweekly foreign currency auction, the EgyptIndependent writes,citing state-owned news agency MENA. However, the Egyptian pound yesterdaydropped to a record low of 12.99 pounds per dollar on the black market from12.02 pounds a week earlier, Bloomberg News notes.

* Most economists polledby Reuters expect Egypt's central bank to maintain interest rates at a monetarypolicy meeting tomorrow. The rates were raised by 100 basis points in June.

* Egyptian Prime Minister SherifIsmail ordered central bank Governor Tarek Amer and Finance Minister Amrel-Garhy to complete talks with an IMF team about a lending program, Reuters reports.The government seeks to secure $7 billion annually to fund the program overthree years.

* The Egyptian Council of Stateintroduced a draft measure aimed at setting the maximum salaries for employeesworking for insurance companies and its subsidiaries, Al-Ahram reports.

* U.K.-based insurer plans to increase itsmarket share in Egypt by upgrading existing products and creating new insurancepolicies, Amwal Al Ghad reports,citing Bupa Egypt Managing Director Sherif el-Ghatrifi. Bupa Egypt also intendsto increase capital in the near term.

* A surveyby the Moroccan central bank found that lending to the nonfinancial sector grewonly 0.8% in 2015 while the cumulative net profit of banks decreased by 6.5%, La Nouvelle Tribune reports.  Thebanks' overall Tier 1 capital ratio was around 11.8% while their solvency ratiowas 13.7%.

* HSBCHoldings Plc's HSBC Middle East named Georges Elhedery CEO for theMiddle East and North Africa, effective immediately, Reuters reports.Elhedery will also become deputy chairman.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

Nigerian central bank raises rate: The Central Bank of Nigeria'smonetary policy committee raisedthe monetary policy rate by 200 basis points to 14% in its first decision sincethe central bank removed the naira's peg to the U.S. dollar. The MPC alsoretained the cash reserve ratio at 30% and the asymmetric window at plus 200and minus 500 basis points around the monetary policy rate.

* The Nigerian central bankrequired lenders to publish details of all foreign exchange transactions on thefinancial market dealers quote platform irrespective of the exchange rate, Vanguard reports.

*First Bank Nigeria HoldingsPlc reportedgroup profit attributable to owners of the parent of 14.89 billion naira in thesecond quarter, compared to 17.26 billion naira in the year-ago period.Attributable first-half profit amounted to 35.36 billion naira, down from 39.62billion naira in the first half of 2015.

* deniedpress reports that it had a role in funding the failed coup in Turkey, the Daily Post reports.Turkish paper Yenisafak reported thatsome of those arrested relating to the coup attempt said the Nigerian bankhelped arranged some $2 billion funding for the failed coup.

* London-based Duet Private Equity and the AssetManagement Corp. of Nigeria agreed to set up an investment fund focused oncompanies in Nigeria's consumer goods sector, Agence Ecofin reports.

* The Ghana Stock Exchange namedKweku Bedu-Addo chairman, Joy Business writes.Bedu-Addo succeeds Sam Mensah, whose term ended July 14.

*Ghanaian Deputy Finance Minister Mona Quartey said the government is willing toaccept the parliament's potential approval of a bill that would allow thecentral bank to finance up to 5% of the government budget deficit, CitiBusiness News writes.Quartey said Ghana may have to renegotiate with the IMF about its financingdeal should parliament approve the bill.

* Central Bank of Kenya GovernorPatrick Njoroge said inflation in the country is under control, despite risingto 5.80% in June from 5% a month earlier, Reuters reports.Njoroge also said there was more than enough liquidity in the Kenyan bankingsector.

* The Kenyan central bank'sreduction of the banks' reference rate to 8.9% from 9.87% will likely promptlenders to raise premiums and impose other lending fees to make up for thelower lending rates, Bloomberg News writes,citing a Commercial Bank of Africa research analyst.

* The Central Bank of Kenya intendsto impose a three-year term limit for external auditors handling books of banksin the country as part of efforts to improve governance in the banking sector, accordingto Business Daily Africa. Theproposal comes after external auditors got caught up in the collapse of threebanks, including Chase Bank(Kenya) Ltd., which has been assessed by auditor Deloitte to be ingood financial position for more than 20 years.

* Anumber of Imperial BankLtd. branches reopened yesterday to receive compensation claimsfrom depositors in the troubled bank, BusinessDaily Africa writes.Depositors will be able to get up to 2.5 million shillings of their deposits inaddition to 1 million shillings previously paid.

* With the EU suspending state aid to Burundi, thecountry's reserve bank has ordered all nongovernmental organizations operatingin the country to close their foreign-currency accounts in commercial banks andopen accounts in the central bank to channel the few remaining sources offoreign exchange into official hands, JeuneAfrique says. Some NGOs have chosen to open accounts in banks in neighboringcountries.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERNAFRICA

Troubled Congo bank attractsinterest: In aletter to the Democratic Republic of the Congo's central bank, Kenya-basedCommercial Bank of AfricaLtd. expressed interest in investing in the recapitalization ofBanque Internationale pourl'Afrique au Congo, which went into provisional administration inMay, Jeune Afrique reports. Plant Kibadi, spokesman for Congo'scentral bank, said the institution received several other expressions ofinterest and will study the credibility of each offer before making a decision,Bloomberg News reports.

* The said it will not be able to provide the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo with budget support as long as uncertainty remains in thecountry's political situation, Bloomberg News reports.General elections supposed to be held in the country in November are likely tobe postponed.

* The Agricultural Bank of Namibianamed Sakaria Nghikembua CEO, effective Aug. 1, the New Era reports.Nghikembua succeeds Leonard Iipumbu, who will retire July 31.

* South African Finance MinisterPravin Gordhan said the BRICS-led New Development Bank is expected to establishan African regional center in Johannesburg by year-end, BusinessDay reports.Separately, Gordhan said yesterday that austerity "is no longer theanswer" to cut the country's public debt and increase economic growth,Reuters reports.

* The South African Treasury said yesterday that FitchRatings' alignment on several sovereign ratings, including the downgrade of thecountry's local-currency debt rating to one notch above sub-investment statusserved as "a timely reminder of the risk of a downgrade" to junkstatus, accordingto Reuters.   

*Mozambique's parliament approved a revised 2016 budget that cuts publicspending allocations and lowers the outlook for economic growth in the southernAfrican nation due to a foreign debt crisis and weaker export earnings,Macauhub says.The growth projection was reduced to 4.5% from 7.0% while inflation forecastwas revised to 16.7% from 5.6%.

* A scandalover Mozambique's Tuna bonds has wrecked Africa's most promising economy,Bloomberg News writesin an analysis of the country's foreign debt crisis.

* TheAngolan operations of Portugal's Banco BPI SA accounted for three quarters of thebigger-than-expected first-half profit announced by the lender yesterday, DiárioEconómico reports.BPI CEO Fernando Ulrich said the lender was "perfectlysustainable" without Angolan unit Banco de Fomento Angola SA.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THEWORLD

Asia-Pacific:

Europe: Spotlight on Commerzbank capital cushion; H1 profit tumbles at Man;new UniCredit execs

Latin America: IRB-Brasil shareholders to decide on IPO in August

North America:

North America Insurance:

SherylGesto-Obejera, Henni Abdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed tothis report.

TheDaily Dose Middle East and Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. Londontime. Some external links may require a subscription.