* Banco Central do Brasil cut its benchmark Selic rate by 50 basis points to 6.00%, pointing to expectations for a slower economic recovery. The decision, which was unanimous, marks the central bank's first rate reduction in more than a year. The monetary authority reiterated its expectation that the Selic rate will end 2019 at a lower 5.50% and stay at that level through 2020.
* Mexico's Finance Ministry cut its 2019 GDP growth estimate to 1.1% from 2%, Reuters reported. The new forecast comes after preliminary data from national statistics agency INEGI showed Mexico dodging a technical recession, with GDP growing 0.1% in real terms in the second quarter from the prior three months.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Grupo Financiero BBVA Bancomer SA de CV posted net income of 13.58 billion Mexican pesos for the second quarter, up 2.7% from 13.22 billion pesos a year earlier. A 2.3% decline in fee and commission income was offset by higher net interest income, which rose 7.6% year over year to 34.21 billion pesos from 31.80 billion pesos.
* Costa Rica's banking system will migrate today to a new payment system based on the IBAN bank identification number used in more than 60 countries, El Financiero reported. The country's banks adapted their systems to the change in 2017 in preparation for the migration.
* Guatemala's Agis insurance industry association is pushing the government to enforce a road traffic law obliging all vehicle owners to have compulsory third-party civil liability insurance, Prensa Libre reported, citing the entity's president, Christian Nolck.
* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the government's 2020 budget will not introduce new taxes or raise fuel prices, Reuters reported. The budget, due to be presented by Sept. 8, will include proposals to fine-tune the tax system in line with the "realities" of the digital economy and e-commerce, finance ministry official Francisco Arias said.
* Fitch Ratings upgraded several of Banco do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul SA's ratings, including the bank's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings, which were raised to to BB- from B+. The action reflects the bank's solid company profile and lower risks posed by the operating environment in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
* Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said talks over a trade agreement between Brazil and the U.S. are officially underway, The Wall Street Journal reported.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social may not meet its disbursement target of 70 billion reais this year, following a weak first-half result and a 49% fall in loan inquiries, Reuters reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. In the first half, the bank's loans totaled 25 billion reais, down 9% year over year.
* Caixa Econômica Federal CEO Pedro Guimarães said the bank's plans to launch mortgages linked to the IPCA inflation index will mean a "revolution" in the home-loans market, adding he has sought authorization for the change from the central bank, Valor Econômico reported.
* Peruvian banks posted a combined net profit of 4.44 billion soles in the first half, up 9.98% year over year due mainly to higher financial income, Gestión reported, citing data from the SBS banking regulator. However, total loan portfolio grew 7.02%, compared to 9.46% in the year-ago period.
* Peruvian financial technology firm Zest Capital, which is focused on wealth management, aims to boost its turnover to $3 million this year from about $1.1 million in 2018 and reach $75 million in assets under management, CEO Arthur Silva told SEMANAeconómica in an interview.
* Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA's second-quarter profit rose 14.23% annually to 112.36 billion Chilean pesos from 98.36 billion pesos. Net fee income rose 22.39% year over year to 85.76 billion pesos, driven by the integration of operations from TotalBank and Walmart Financial Services.
* Uruguay's fiscal deficit reached 4.8% of GDP in June, up 0.2 percentage points from May, El País reported, citing data from the Finance Ministry. The figure is the highest in 30 years.
* The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $360 million loan to Argentina to improve road networks and develop satellite technology in the country, Clarín reported, citing the Finance Ministry.
* Chilean payment processing company Redbanc gave a much higher figure for the number of cards affected by a data theft initially reported in June, La Tercera reported. It said 299,897 credit and debit cards had been affected, up from the initial estimate of 41,593 cards.
* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA has appointed Federico Ravazzani to lead its investment banking business in Chile as part of a management shake-up, Diario Financiero reported. Ravazzani replaces Raul Schmidt in the post.
* Chilean insurer Bupa Compania de Seguros de Vida SA said Luis Barrientos Mendoza had left his post as finance manager, and will be replaced by Maximiliano Donoso Mora.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* The United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, or ECLAC, lowered its 2019 economic growth forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean to 0.5% from 1.3%, Reuters reported. The new expectation accounts for lower-than-expected growth in Brazil and Mexico, the region's largest economies.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: China Development Bank ex-chair under probe; Myanmar OKs Japanese insurers' JVs
* Middle East & Africa: Emirates NDB closes DenizBank deal; Old Mutual to appeal ex-CEO's reinstatement
* Europe: LSE-Refinitiv deal; StanChart's gloomy outlook; restructuring weighs on SocGen
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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