* Argentina's consumer price index surged 3.7% in December 2019, bringing accumulated annual inflation to 53.8%, the INDEC statistics agency said. The annual inflation reading for 2019 is the highest since 1991, confirming another volatile year for an economy that is expected to have shrunk 3.1% last year.
* Brazilian digital bank Banco C6 SA is to launch corporate banking operations by early February, targeting entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies with annual revenues of up to 500 million reais, Valor Econômico reported, citing founding partner Luiz Marcelo Calicchio.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* The Mexican central bank said it would start publishing on Jan. 16 a new reference rate each day for the local financial system, El Financiero reported. The one-day TIIE rate will reflect conditions in the interbank funding market and with brokerage firms and will be calculated as the volume-weighted median of the transactions.
* Banco Bradesco SA said it sold its entire stake in call center Chain Serviços e Contact Center SA to Almaviva do Brasil Telemarketing e Informática SA. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
* Brazilian financial technology firm EBANX Ltda. has started testing its digital wallet by offering the service to 10,000 consumers, Reuters reported. Founded in 2012, EBANX attained "unicorn" status in 2018 following a second-round investment from FTV Capital.
* Ricardo Guimarães has been appointed as president and country head of BNP Paribas SA in Brazil, effective March 1, subject to regulatory approvals, Valor Econômico reported. He replaces Sandrine Ferdane, who was named global head of financial institutions coverage at the French parent company.
* Brazilian pension funds, including Caixa Econômica Federal's Funcef and Banco do Brasil SA's Previ, will soon assume a direct 3.0% stake in IRB-Brasil Resseguros SA in an operation worth 1 billion reais approved late last year, according to O Estado de S. Paulo's Broadcast column. The funds' holdings in IRB were previously invested through investment fund FIP Caixa Barcelona.
* Peru's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that President Martin Vizcarra's dissolution of Congress on Sept. 30, 2019, was legal and not a violation of the country's constitution, Reuters reported. As a result of the verdict, legislative elections set for Jan. 26 will proceed as planned.
* Customers of Banco BBVA Perú, Banco Internacional del Perú SAA and Scotiabank Perú SAA will soon be able to send and receive money between accounts at the three lenders through the PLIN mobile payment tool that will only require a mobile phone number to facilitate transfer, El Comercio reported. The official launch is due in the coming days and other local banks could join the initiative, according to sources familiar with the matter.
* Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said a bill to overhaul the country's pension system will be sent to Congress in the coming days, Reuters reported. The bill, which will propose a 6% hike in pension contribution per individual, would mean that pensioners will no longer fall below the poverty line, the president said.
* The default rate on loans to Argentine consumers rose to 4.4% in November 2019, up 0.5 percentage points from November 2018, while the number of companies with late payments jumped to 5.7% from 2.2% a year earlier, according to the latest central bank data, El Cronista reported. It noted much lower default rates on mortgages, including inflation-adjusted UVA mortgages.
* Uruguay's government issued further regulations linked to financial inclusion legislation, El País reported. The new rules stipulate the number of branches, ATMs or banking correspondents that financial institutions must have if they offer services such as pension and welfare benefit payments.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* Global dividend payouts are expected to hit $1.9 trillion in 2020, up 5.5% from 2019, when payouts rose 4.5% on an annual basis, according to an analysis of 7,700 companies by IHS Markit. Payouts from emerging markets are predicted to increase 5.6%, compared to the 5.5% growth forecast for developed markets.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: MUFG to get new head; Australia raises levies on financial firms
* Middle East & Africa: Fitch affirms UAE banks; Bank Muscat FY'19 profit up; Allianz Cameroon names CEO
* Europe: TSB enlists IBM for IT revamp; Latvia OKs sale of Danske's unit to Citadele
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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.