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Mexico cuts key rate; Intercorp Financial's Q4'19 profit rises 47.3%

* Mexico's central bank lowered the target for its overnight interbank interest rate by 25 basis points to 7%, representing its fifth consecutive rate cut. "Economic activity in Mexico has remained stagnant for several quarters, with a generalized weakness in aggregate demand components. Thus, slack conditions have continued to widen," the bank said, adding that risks to the economic outlook are tilted to the downside.

* Intercorp Financial Services Inc. booked a fourth-quarter 2019 profit attributable to shareholders of 410.3 million Peruvian soles, up 47.3% from 278.6 million soles in the prior-year period. The result came as net interest and similar income ticked 5.9% higher year over year, while other income improved 81.2%. Impairment loss on loans, net of recoveries, declined 29.2% to 147.9 million soles.

BRAZIL

* Scor SE acquired a majority stake in AgroBrasil Administração e Participações Ltda., a Brazil-based managing general agent that distributes fruit and grain loss of crop quality and yield insurance protection.

* Brazil's real currency strengthened for the first time in a week on Feb. 13 after the central bank sold $1 billion of foreign exchange swap contracts in its first market intervention since November 2019, Reuters reported. The central bank announced it will auction up to $1 billion of currency swaps on Feb. 14.

* Banco BTG Pactual SA booked adjusted net income of 1.01 billion reais for the fourth quarter of 2019, rising sharply from 711 billion reais a year earlier. The result came as total revenues soared to 2.49 billion reais from 1.55 billion reais.

* The Brazilian insurance sector recorded revenues of 270.1 billion reais in 2019, excluding the supplementary health and DPVAT insurance segment, rising 8.1% from the previous year in real terms, UOL reported, citing data from the CNSEG industry association.

* Banco Votorantim SA has invested 80 million reais in financial technology company Weel in a bid to accelerate loans to smaller companies, Reuters reported.

* Banco do Brasil SA CEO Rubem Novaes said advances in financial technology and the rise of open banking in Brazil will put pressure on the state-run bank to consider privatization in the medium term, Folha de S.Paulo reported. The executive has discussed privatization for Banco do Brasil before, but Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro remains unconvinced.

* Sul América SA completed its acquisition of a 25% stake in digital investment platform Órama Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários SA for 100 million reais, Reuters reported.

ANDEAN

* Peru's central bank held its reference rate at 2.25%, noting a moderate downside bias for its annual inflation expectation of around 2.0% over the forecast horizon. Global growth risks from trade tensions have diminished, although the impact of the coronavirus outbreak is still uncertain, the bank said.

* Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores SA's board has authorized Chairman Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo to acquire up to 100 million new shares in Grupo Aval through various companies he controls, La República reported.

* Mario Pardo Bayona will replace Óscar Cabrera as CEO of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Colombia SA in March, La República reported, citing a statement. Pardo Bayona is the global head of enterprise clients in BBVA's client solutions area.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentina's central bank lowered the floor for its benchmark Leliq interest rate to 44% from 48%, citing slower inflation. The latest reduction brings the reference rate in effective terms to 54% per year, the central bank said, adding that the new rate will be effective for the next Leliq tender on Feb. 18.

* Over-the-counter Argentine bond prices declined an average 2% on Feb. 13 after Economy Minister Martin Guzman warned of a looming "deep debt restructuring," Reuters reported. He also said the restructuring would probably be "frustrating" for bondholders.

* Argentina's central bank said it will lower reserve requirements for financial institutions that offer loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises at rates of 35% or less, El Cronista reported.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Proposed corporate tax changes could bring in up to $100 billion per year in additional combined revenues for governments, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The intergovernmental group hopes to finalize an agreement by the end of 2020, saying that the changes would reduce "the influence of corporate taxes on investment location decisions."

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: South Korea eases bank penalties; China Development Bank ex-chair's arrest order

* Middle East & Africa: DIB to raise foreign ownership limit; South Africa plots state-owned bank

Pablo Jimenez Arandia contributed to this article.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8:00 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. 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.