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Brazil credit bureau approval under fire; Argentina takes Mercosur presidency


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Brazil credit bureau approval under fire; Argentina takes Mercosur presidency

* Brazilian Congressman Celso Russomanno is considering a decree to overturn antitrust regulator Cade's approval of a proposed credit intelligence bureau that will be created by Banco do Brasil SA, Banco Bradesco SA, Caixa Econômica Federal, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Santander (Brasil) SA, Valor Econômico reported. Although Cade imposed some restrictions on the project to minimize competition concerns, Russomanno is concerned about the confidentiality of consumer data.

* Argentina assumed the pro-tempore presidency of South American trade bloc Mercosur, Foreign Affairs Minister Susana Malcorra announced after meeting with her counterparts from Mercosur members Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay. Venezuela, which was suspended from Mercosur earlier in December for failing to implement the bloc's norms, was excluded from the meeting. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez accused her Mercosur counterparts of "plotting" against Venezuela and insisted that the country is still a member of the bloc.


* Mexico's GDP could fall by about 2.7% if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump follows through with his plan to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement, Reuters reported, citing Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. "So there you have some of the risks that could be important, and could even bring the Mexican economy into recession," Barcena said during a presentation.

* Credit will remain accessible in Mexico, but interest rates charged by banks will no longer be at the historically low levels seen in recent years due to the Mexican central bank's rate hikes as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to hike its key rate, El Economista reported, citing Grupo Financiero Banamex SA de CV CEO Ernesto Torres Cantú.


* The Brazilian government will temporarily suspend debt payments from states with financial difficulties, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. The measure, which is subject to congressional approval, would enable states to enter debt restructuring talks with financial institutions but would not allow them to seek new credit during that time.

* S&P Global Ratings downgraded its global scale rating on Banco de Desenvolvimento de Minas Gerais SA to B- from BB- due to the worsening finances of the state of Minas Gerais, a major shareholder of the bank. The rating agency also lowered the bank's national scale rating to brB- from brA.

* Banco Santander (Brasil) SA said it signed a commercial partnership agreement with American Airlines Inc. for the marketing and issuance of co-branded credit cards.

* José Yunes, a top aide for Brazilian President Michel Temer, resigned after accusations that he obtained illegal funding from engineering company Odebrecht, Reuters reported. Wellington Moreira Franco, Temer's infrastructure investment secretary, denied reports that was also planning to resign due to similar allegations.

* Marcelo Bahia Odebrecht, the former CEO of construction firm Odebrecht SA, told prosecutors that Brazilian President Michel Temer asked the company for a 10 million reais political donation in May 2014 when he was serving as the country's vice president, Folha de S. Paulo reported. The publication did not specify whether the alleged contribution was recorded with electoral authorities.

* Brazil's central bank will probably unveil new economic stimulus measures next week, Reuters reported, citing Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles. The official also said the government expects economic growth to accelerate through 2017, with GDP expected to rise 2.8% year over year in the last quarter of next year, the newswire reported separately.

* Financial technology firms in Brazil have developed mobile phone applications for investments, charging service fees that are up to 50% cheaper than those at traditional banks in the country, Valor Econômico reported.

* Brazil's government will announce a series of economic measures Dec. 15, including a proposal to allow troubled companies to use losses to offset their tax dues, Valor Econômico reported.

* Brazilians banks are preparing for a number of initial public offerings that might materialize in the coming weeks, including sanitation firm Sanepar, diagnostics company Hermes Pardini and car rental firm Movida e Unidas, Valor Econômico reported.

* Petros, the employee pension fund of state oil company Petrobras, has asked Brazilian securities and exchange commission CVM to investigate the asset management units of Banco Bradesco SA and Caixa Econômica Federal over investment losses sustained by Petros, Reuters reported.


* Overall credit card debt in Peru is expected to rise 6.34% annually in 2016 to about 18.18 billion Peruvian soles, Gestión reported, citing estimates by credit information agency Sentinel.


* Chile's pensions regulator said it has decided not to invalidate its approval of the mergers between pension fund managers Cuprum and Argentum, and between Provida and Acquisition. Both approvals came in 2015 just before the implementation of a new tax reform, resulting in the fund managers' parent companies receiving sizable tax benefits, which drew strong criticism from some lawmakers.

* Argentina's national banking employee union said it cancelled a strike planned for Dec. 15 and will now participate in wage discussions that will be organized by the Labor Ministry on Dec. 16, Reuters reported.

* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA said in a monthly report that it expects Paraguay's economy to grow 4% in 2016 before slowing to 3.7% growth in 2017, La Nación reported. The bank's 2017 forecast is the same as the Paraguayan government's own estimate.

* Uruguay's government placed 660 million Uruguayan pesos of bonds due 2020, with demand for the debt reaching almost four times the issued amount, El País reported.


* Top U.S. Federal Reserve officials announced that they raised the target range of the central bank's key interest rate by 25 basis points after their final monetary policy meeting of 2016. Financial markets had widely anticipated the move, which is only the second raise in the key rate target in more than a decade.


* Middle East & Africa: Central banks respond to Fed hike; Gabon restructures 3 banks

* Europe: Banks' MREL funding need estimates cut; more calls for transitional Brexit deal

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Matthew Craze contributed to this article.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Some external links may require a subscription.