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Intercorp's profit tumbles in Q4'17; Banco Agibank mulls IPO

* Intercorp Financial Services Inc. posted a fourth-quarter 2017 profit of 241.2 million Peruvian soles, down 37.6% from 386.3 million soles in the year-ago period. The decline was driven partly by higher other expenses, which rose to 499.0 million soles from 413.8 million soles a year earlier.

* Brazil's Banco Agibank SA is thinking about an initial public offering that could raise an estimated 800 million Brazilian reais, a source familiar with the matter told Valor Econômico. The IPO could take place by the end of the first half at the earliest, although the plans are still in preliminary stages.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Mexico's foreign ministry said a meeting between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump is being set up for some time in the coming weeks, Reuters reported.

* The pending merger between Grupo Financiero Interacciones SAB de CV and Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV will allow the combined entity to "be much more aggressive" in terms of lowering interest rates on loans to Mexican state and municipal governments, Reuters reported, citing Interacciones CEO Carlos Rojo.

* Bank credit to Mexico's private sector should start to recover in the second half of 2018 following a slowdown in 2017, El Economista reported, citing Carlos Serrano, chief economist at BBVA Bancomer SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer.

CARIBBEAN

* Insurers could incur €1.83 billion in costs due to Hurricane Irma, which hit the Caribbean islands of St. Martin and St. Barthelemy in September 2017, according to the French Insurance Federation.

BRAZIL

* A Brazilian court imposed a fine of 800,000 reais on Banco Bradesco SA for failing to implement ergonomic work conditions, InfoMoney reported. The court ruled that the lack of an ergonomic work assessment by the company exposed employees to the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

ANDEAN

* Peruvian banking association Asbanc said the degree of competition in the country's financial system is high, as reflected in a decline in interest rates charged by banks. In the last five years, the average interest rate for corporate loans decreased to 4.03% from 6.05%, Asbanc said.

* Peru's GDP grew 2.5% in 2017, marking 19 consecutive years of economic expansion for the country, Gestión reported, citing the INEI national statistics agency.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentina's central bank held its monetary policy rate at 27.25%, citing higher inflation expectations and "mixed signals" about price changes so far in 2018.

* BBVA Banco Francés SA reported net income of 1.42 billion Argentine pesos for the fourth quarter of 2017, up 144.0% from the 582.4 million pesos earned in the year-ago period. Net financial income rose 40.6% year over year to 4.57 billion pesos, while net income from services grew 51.6% to 1.63 billion pesos.

* Banco Santander Chile signed a new collective agreement with its 23 unions, Diario Financiero reported. The agreement, which will take effect in September, is valid for three years and benefits more than 10,300 employees. Following the signing of the agreement, the bank said it will define at a later date the minimum level of services that employees must maintain in the event of a strike, Pulso reported.

* Banco de la Nación Argentina's credit portfolio grew 90% in 2017 to reach about 213.27 billion Argentine pesos, while the bank's share of the credit market rose to 13.58% from 10.88% in 2016, Clarín reported.

* State-run Argentine bank Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior SA plans to issue around $400 million worth of international bonds in the second half of 2018, Chairman Pablo García told El Cronista in an interview. The debt will not carry a sovereign guarantee.

* Chilean bank earnings recovered in 2017 with consolidated net income rising 13.8% year over year, Fitch Ratings said, noting that the results were underpinned by strict credit discipline and retail lending growth. Increased revenues from wider net interest margins, higher fee income and local currency appreciation also helped to offset slow corporate and commercial loan growth and higher loan-loss provisions.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Latin America's GDP is expected to grow 2.3% in 2018 and 2.7% in 2019, according to research firm FocusEconomics' latest LatinFocus Consensus Forecast. Bolivia and Paraguay are expected to be the region's top performers this year, while Venezuela's economy is seen contracting 6.7%.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: India, China bidding for Bangladesh bourse stake; Suncorp H1 net profit slides

* Middle East & Africa: Ramaphosa to lead South Africa as Zuma resigns; Tunisian central banker leaves

* Europe: Aegon Q4 profit up 110%; Rabobank FY'17 profit jumps; Creval prices share issue

Helen Popper 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.