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Bancrédito restructuring approved; BTG transfers stake in drugstore chain

* Costa Rican financial regulator Sugef approved a revised restructuring plan submitted by troubled lender Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cartago, El Financiero reported. The plan incorporates prior recommendations by the regulator and includes measures such as administrative cost-cutting, asset sales and improved corporate governance.

* An investment vehicle led by BTG Pactual Group transferred a stake of about 94% in drugstore chain BR Pharma SA to Lyondel LLC for 1,000 reais, Reuters reported. The deal marks BTG's exit from a firm that has been troubled in recent years by rising debt and below-par performance.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Scott Petruska, a foreign-exchange adviser for Silicon Valley Bank, said the Mexican peso will not fall to a record low again even if the U.S. government follows through with its threat to scrap the NAFTA trade deal, Bloomberg News reported. Petruska was the peso's most accurate forecaster in the first quarter, according to Bloomberg rankings.

* Panama Finance Minister Dulcidio de la Guardia said government spending on infrastructure projects and a higher trade activity will help the country become the fastest growing economy in Latin America in 2017, Bloomberg News reported. "We think the cloud over global trade is going to dissipate and that should generate greater volumes of global trade going forward," he said in an interview.

* The performance of Mexican banks in dealing with customer complaints worsened overall in 2016 despite improvements by some lenders, El Economista reported. The IDATU consumer attention index published by financial consumer protection agency Condusef closed 2016 at 7.98, down from 8.08 in December 2015.

* Auto loans accounted for 73.2% of total domestic car industry sales in Mexico during the first two months of 2017, with vehicle financing increasing 13.5% compared to the same period a year ago, El Economista reported, citing automobile distributors association AMDA.

* Banco Inbursa SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Grupo Financiero Inbursa sold a 10-year bond worth $750 million in the international market, Reuters reported. The bond carries a 4.375% annual coupon, and the bank will use the proceeds to reinforce its funding structure.

* Nacional Financiera S.N.C. Institución de Banca de Desarrollo issued 6 billion Mexican pesos of development bank certificates known as cebures, with demand reaching more than 2x the amount offered, El Financiero reported.

BRAZIL

* The number of judicial recovery requests in Brazil declined 21.3% year over year in the first quarter to 322 filings, according to data from credit research firm Serasa Experian. The firm attributed the fall to slower inflation and a gradual economic recovery, among other factors.

* Savings withdrawals in Brazil outpaced deposits by about 5.00 billion reais in March, according to data from the central bank. The negative balance was more significant compared to February when withdrawals outpaced deposits by some 1.67 billion reais.

* Brazilian President Michel Temer said he intends to revise his proposed pension reform in order to help secure its approval in the lower house of Congress, Reuters reported. According to calculations by the office of the president's chief of staff, the possible revisions could cost the government 115 billion reais in savings during the next 10 years.

* Edson Garcia, Brazil's former attorney general, is among three candidates being considered to succeed Leonardo Pereira as the head of securities and exchange commission CVM, O Estado de S. Paulo reported. Pereira's term ends in July.

* Banco do Brasil SA remained the largest bank in Brazil in terms of assets at the end of 2016, Valor Econômico reported, citing the central bank. Banco do Brasil had about 1.437 trillion reais in assets at the end of the year, compared to Itaú Unibanco Holding SA's 1.331 trillion reais. However, the central bank noted that these figures differ from the banks' own balance sheets because they exclude supplementary activities such as insurance.

* Investment fund management fees in Brazil's retail sector have fallen in recent years, and if expectations for a single-digit Selic rate are confirmed, local banks are prepared to adjust their prices accordingly, Valor Econômico reported, citing José Rocha, chairman of financial and capital markets association Anbima's retail committee.

* Caixa Econômica Federal has so far not agreed to a demand from Brazil's banking sector to block 10% of the balance in FGTS severance fund accounts when payroll loans are contracted using those funds as a guarantee, Valor Econômico reported. Banks said they would continue to push for the demand.

ANDEAN

* Fitch Ratings said Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA's recently announced $383 million deal to increase its stake in unit Sura Asset Management SA to 83.58% from 78.71% is neutral to the company's credit quality. The acquisition is being funded by a combination of cash on hand, incremental debt, and own cash flow generation, the rating agency noted.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. will close its offices in Uruguay by the end of 2017 as it shifts the focus of its international operations to London, Globes reported. The lender reportedly has no plans to shutter offices in other countries such as Mexico and Germany.

* Argentina's government will auction four new Treasury bills and two medium- and long-term bonds in U.S. dollars next week in a bid to raise $6 billion, La Nacion reported. The government plans to use the proceeds to meet upcoming debt repayments.

* Growth in credit to Argentina's private sector slowed in March, El Cronista reported, citing central bank data. In nominal terms, credit in Argentine pesos rose 1.41%, while dollar-denominated loans increased 4.36%. However, if inflation and seasonal adjustment are factored in, overall credit to the private sector fell 0.5% in March.

* Banco del Estado de Chile said it opened a new branch in the Chilean town of Punitaqui, located in the Limarí province.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Fitch Ratings said it expects Latin America's GDP to recover from two years of contraction with 1.3% growth in 2017. The region's recovery will be supported by better external demand, a moderate rise in commodity prices and improved economic performance by Argentina and Brazil, the rating agency said.

* Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said the country is willing to grant asylum to a politician from Venezuela's opposition if he requests it, Reuters reported. It was unclear if Munoz was referring to Roberto Enriquez or Eduardo Vetancourt, both of whom are currently in the Chilean ambassador's residence in Caracas seeking protection from the Venezuelan government.

* JP Morgan Asset Management plans to open new offices in Mexico and Colombia during the next two months as the company looks to leverage the growth of Latin America's pension fund industry, according to a blog post on Bloomberg News.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: Old Mutual to sell Chinese JV stake; Indian officials deny Axis Bank stake sale

* Middle East & Africa: South Africa ratings ball in Fitch's court; Hapoalim mulls Isracard sale

* Europe: Tryg Q1 profit up; Deutsche rules out merger; Banco Popular to sell €1.2B asset

* North America: PacWest Bancorp acquiring CU Bancorp for $705M; Cohn could back Glass-Steagall

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.