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New ratings for Iranian banks; Kenyan rate cap boosts lending

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New ratings for Iranian banks; Kenyan rate cap boosts lending

World Bank cuts SSAgrowth forecast: The World Bank adjusted its growth forecast forsub-Saharan Africa to 1.6% for the year, down from 2.5% in its last forecast inearly June, Jeune Afrique says.This parallels the IMF, which has trimmed its forecast to 1.6%, the slowestgrowth forecast in 20 years. Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania still maintainaverage growth of more than 6% and Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal are among thecontinent's best performing, according to theWorld Bank report.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

OPEC oil deal: Members of theOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to modestly cut oiloutput following 2.5 years of negotiations, amid increasing pressure from thedrop in oil prices, Reuters reports.Despite an overnight rally in oil prices and an increase in most Gulf stockmarkets yesterday, Saudi Arabia's stock market resumed its decline for a thirdday and fell 0.5%, Reuters notes.

* The Central Bank of Iran will implement a new ratingsystem for the country's lenders, but these ratings will not be disclosed tothe public, the Financial Tribune writes,citing Farshad Heydari, the central bank's deputy for supervisory affairs.Iranian banks will be rated starting Oct. 22 and will be classified into fourcategories.

* Private sector deposits in Iranian lenders and nonbankfinancial firms rose 30.9% on a yearly basis to 10.46 quadrillion rials for theyear ending July 21, the FinancialTribune notes,citing central bank data. The government's total deposits in the banking sectordeclined 8.4% over the same period to 287.7 trillion rials.

* Aggregate profits of Saudi Arabian banks in August rose 6%from a year ago to 3.8 billion riyals, Argaam writes,citing central bank data. Meanwhile, assets held by the Saudi Arabian MonetaryAgency fell 8 billion riyals on a monthly basis and 380 billion riyals on ayear-over-year basis to 2.17 trillion riyals in August, Argaam adds.

* The Saudi Arabian central bank made it mandatory for banksto reschedule the debts of state employees who will see salary and bonus cutsOct. 2, Okaz reports.

* Insurers in Saudi Arabia will not reduce motor insurancepremiums given the soaring number of accidents in the kingdom and the increaseof the death compensation to 300,000 riyals from 100,000 riyals, Adel al-Essa,a spokesperson for Saudi insurance companies, told Rotana Khalijia TV, Argaam reports.

* Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co.'s board namedAbdulmajeed Al Sultan board and executive committee chairman. The insurerappointed Sager Nadershah managing director.

* DhofarInsurance Co. (SAOG) appointed Ewen McRobbie COO, Mubasher reports.

* Jordan Emirates Insurance Co. completed a capital increasethat saw the number of its shares increase to 5.92 million from 5 million, Al-Ghad reports.

* Warba BankKSCP's general assembly authorizedthe board to issue Sharia-complaint debt tools.

* Islamic banks in Oman saw a 53.09% year-over-year rise infinancing to about 2.15 billion rials at July-end, the Times of Oman writes.The total assets of Islamic banks and window operations in the countryincreased 44.38% over the same period to 2.65 billion rials.

* CreditAgricole - Egypt Bank (SAE) signed a $50 million trade facilitationagreement with the EBRD, Daily News Egyptsays.

* The Central Bank of Tunisia saidit kept its interest rate unchanged at 4.25%, Reuters notes.

* Central Bank of Libya Governor Saddek Elkaber could bereplaced upon the end of his tenure this month, the Libya Herald reports,although insiders say a succession is unlikely due to a political division inthe country. Mohamed Najeeb al-Jamil, Jamal al-Malik, Idris Alahemer, Mohamedal-Shukri and Tarek Yousef Magarief are among potential successors.

EAST AND WEST AFRICA

Kenyan rate capboosts lending: KCB GroupLtd. recorded 6.3 billion shillings in new personal loans in thelast three weeks, increasing from 1 billion shillings a month before theinterest rate cap was implemented, contradicting earlier fears that the new lawwould discourage lending, Business DailyAfrica writes,citing KCB CEO Joshua Oigara.

* Meanwhile, the lender stopped offering three- andsix-month loans on its M-Pesa mobile platform after it cut the effective annualinterest rate on the loans to 14%, BusinessDaily Africa writes.KCB is now offering only the one-month loans on the platform.

* EcobankTransnational Inc. named Greg Davis CFOand group executive, finance., FinancialAfrik reports.Davis, formerly in charge of Standard Bank Group Ltd.'s financial operations forAfrica excluding South Africa, will start Oct. 18 in his new role.

* Mobile operator Togo Cellulaire launched a mobile moneyapp, tmoney, with Banque Togolaise pour le Commerce et l'Industrie, Financial Afrik reports,noting that while 10% of Togo's population has a bank account, the country'smobile penetration rate is 50%.

* A preliminary probe launched by the Bank of Ghana absolvedChairman Daniel Owiredu of any wrongdoing in relation to reports that Owireduhas been pushing the central bank to approve loans without a collateral, JoyBusiness notes.

* The IMF approved a loan of about $116 million to Ghana tosupport the country's balance of payment, Joy Business notes.

* Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari said on a visit toAbuja that his government will invest $5 billion in Nigeria to boost itseconomy, Agence Ecofin reports.

* Nigerian lenders are having a "tough" timeraising capital as the country's dwindling economy wards off investors,Bloomberg News reports,citing Umaru Ibrahim, managing director of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corp.Ibrahim urged local lenders to "become more creative to mobilize deposits."

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

Congo raises rates:The Democratic Republic of Congo's central bank raised its key rate to 7% from2% amid deterioration in international market prices for the country's copperand oil exports, Financial Afrik says.The central bank will intervene in the currency market today to ease pressureon the Congolese franc, spokesman Plante Kibadhi toldReuters.

*Mozambique must keep raising interest rates to tame brisk inflation and prop upits depreciated currency, the IMF said, BloombergNews and Reutersreport.

*Mozambique's largest financial group, BIM – Banco Internacional de Moçambique SA, plans tocontinue expanding in the southern African nation, Jornal de Notícias reports.

* Twoproblematic loans totalling €60 million and granted by andBanco BPI SA are linkedto a company controlled by Mozambican minister Celso Correia, Público reports,noting that the loans were granted to Mozambique's Insitec Group to buy an 18%stake in Banco Comercial e deInvestimento SA.

* South Africa began marketing a dual-tranchebenchmark-sized U.S. dollar bond, an insider toldThomson Reuters' IFR.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Asia-Pacific:ADB to lend Bangladesh US$8B; Fedissues consent order to China AgBank

Europe:Phoenix buys Abbey Life;Barclays, Credit Suisse in US MBS talks

LatinAmerica: Generali sellingGuatemalan business; no agreement in Brazilian banking labor strike

NorthAmerica: Senators not done withStumpf; Scottrade Financial said to be for sale

NorthAmerica Insurance: AssuredGuaranty to acquire MBIA UK Insurance; Justice Department amends lawsuit toblock Anthem/Cigna deal

Xana Kakoty, HenniAbdelghani, Pádraig Belton and Helen Popper contributed to this report.

The Daily Dose Middle Eastand Africa has an editorial deadline of 5 a.m. London time. Some external linksmay require a subscription.