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Banking & Finance

Business & Finance - Banking & Finance

AFDB to lend Tunisia up to 2bn euros over next five years TUNIS: The African Development Bank (AFDB) will lend Tunisia between 1.5 billion euros and 2 billion euros ($1.6 bln-$2.1 bln) over the next five years, the bank's North Africa director Jacob Kolster said on Wednesday.  Kolster announced the loan at an investment conference in Tunis at which regional and Western partners have pledged billions in financial assistance to shore up Tunisia's economy.  "The AFDB will remain in Tunisia and will continue to support Tunisia," Kolster said as he announced the deal.  Tunisia is seeking financial support and foreign investment as it struggles with weak growth, high levels of unemployment and a large fiscal deficit.  "This major announcement by the AFDB comes after several months of negotiations," said Fadhel Abdelkefi, Tunisia's investment minister.  On Tuesday, Tunisia received pledges including $1.25 billion in aid from Qatar, and loans of 2.9 billion euros ($3.1 billion) from the European Investment Bank and $1.5 billion from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.  Tunisia's government is pushing measures ...

Business & Finance - Banking & Finance

Monte dei Paschi still debating Fresh inclusion in debt swap, but ‘quite difficult’            ROME: Monte dei Paschi di Siena is still considering the possible inclusion of a 1-billion euro financial instrument in a debt-to-equity swap currently under way, but this is looking "quite difficult" given regulatory and time constraints, the bank's chief financial officer said on Wednesday.  In a conference call with bond holders, CFO Francesco Mele said the issue would be discussed at a board meeting on Wednesday and a statement could come later in the day.  He also said that under ...

Business & Finance - Banking & Finance

ECB stimulus creating room for economic reforms: Draghi FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank's ultra-loose monetary policy is creating room for governments to carry out economic reforms but is no substitute for them, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday.  "We are lowering the risk that the current low rates of growth become entrenched, but we alone cannot eliminate that risk," Draghi said at an event in Spain.  Responding to criticism that low rates ease pressure on governments to act, Draghi added: "Monetary policy is providing support and space for ...

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RBC hit by capital markets profit decline, loan losses         TORONTO: Royal Bank of Canada reported a worse-than-expected decline in fourth-quarter profits on Wednesday, reflecting lower earnings from its capital markets business and an increase in loans to oil firms turning bad.  Earnings per share fell to C$1.65, down from C$1.74 in the same period last year and short of the C$1.71 average forecast given by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S Estimates.  Barclays analyst John Aiken said he expected the market to be disappointed with the miss, especially as rival ...

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Raiffeisen says listed arm to dominate post-merger board VIENNA: Senior executives from Raiffeisen Bank International will stay on and dominate the board of the combined company once a planned merger with its parent Raiffeisen Zentralbank is confirmed next year, the Austrian firms said on Wednesday.  Under the plan, which will be put to shareholders for final approval in January, parent company RZB will be merged into central and eastern Europe specialist RBI, with RZB shareholders receiving RBI stock in exchange.  RBI's Chief Risk Officer Johann Strobl will take over as ...

Business & Finance - Banking & Finance

India central bank relaxes cash balance requirements for lenders MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday allowed lenders to include old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes as part of their cash balance, a move that analysts said would make it easier for the sector to fulfill their cash reserve ratio requirements.  In a statement, the central bank said that all scrapped currency notes held in their chests will be counted as part of their cash balance.Analysts said the move would help banks adhere to the RBI's sharp hike in ...

Business & Finance - Banking & Finance

Israel TEL AVIV: Russia's Sberbank said on Wednesday it signed a $100 million seven-year venture loan agreement for Gett, an on-demand mobility company operating in Russia, the United States, United Kingdom and Israel.  The funds will be used to finance Gett's business expansion, and Sberbank will hold options linked to Gett stock.Igor Bulantsev, acting head of Sberbank's corporate and investment banking business, said the opportunity to finance a "significant digital business" was especially important for the bank's strategy.This venture loan was the ...