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Chile's central bank cuts rate; Paraguay's central bank slashes growth forecast


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Chile's central bank cuts rate; Paraguay's central bank slashes growth forecast

* The Chilean central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.75%, as it signaled that recent violent protests could hurt the Chilean economy. The central bank board noted that while the immediate impact comes from a "partial paralysis" of business due to infrastructure damage, there also could be a medium-term affect tied in part to the "impact on confidence and the effects of the course of action announced by the government."

* Paraguay's central bank cut its 2019 growth forecast to just 0.2% from 1.5% previously as it pointed to a global economic slowdown and difficult weather for farming, Reuters reported. Miguel Mora, the central bank's chief economist, noted that the drought conditions that have severely affected agriculture also have a spillover effect into other sectors, like manufacturing.


* Two banks have reached a "settlement in principal" over allegations that they manipulated the Mexican bond market, Bloomberg News reported citing an attorney. The banks also may turn over evidence that could implicate other global banks. The move comes years after an investigation by Mexico's antitrust agency found evidence of government bond manipulation, which in turn spurred eight pension funds to file suit against several banks.

* Two Mexican banks — Banco Sabadell SA Institución De Banca Múltiple and Volkswagen Bank SA Institución de Banca Múltiple — are still behind on implementing the central bank's new CoDi mobile payment system almost a month since it was launched, El Economista reported, citing Banxico's website. The other 31 banks required to implement the system are operating it normally.


* Brazilian state-controlled lender Banco do Brasil SA raised 5.84 billion reais in a secondary share offer that closed Oct. 23. The offering consisted of 132.5 million common shares at a price of 44.05 reais per share, Valor Econômico reported.

* Brazilian state lender Caixa Econômica Federal wants to launch fixed-rate mortgages by June 2020, Valor Econômico reported, citing CEO Pedro Guimarães.

* Three former executives at the Brazilian unit of U.S. insurer Markel have bought the subsidiary following the parent company's decision to scale back its operations in Latin America, Valor Econômico reported.

* Brazilian bank Banco BMG SA's initial public offering saw investor demand hit 4x the offering's size, Estado de S. Paulo's Coluna do Broadcast reported. The bank, which has launched its second attempt to IPO, is expected to price the offering today.


* Kambista, a Peruvian digital foreign exchange company, aims to raise $2 million to fund its expansion in Argentina and to launch digital wallet service, co-founder and CEO Daniel Bonifaz told El Comercio in an interview. He also said the company aims to quadruple monthly transactions, to 70,000, by 2020.

* High deposit levels are spurring Peru's municipal savings and loan cooperatives to step up corporate lending to entities including other cooperatives and microfinance bodies, according to an analysis by SEMANAeconómica. The amount of corporate loans granted by cooperatives rose 22% year over year in August, though they still represent just a fraction of cooperatives' overall loan portfolios.

* The number of credit cards in circulation in Colombia rose 9.2% in July 2019 year over year to reach 15.5 million, La República reported, citing data from the country's financial superintendent.


* In order to pay maturing debt this year, the Argentine government took out a six-month, 30 billion-peso loan from Banco de la Nación Argentina and issued more than 2 billion pesos worth of securities to its social security office. The move comes as the country's funding capabilities have been restricted after market turmoil and political uncertainty led the International Monetary Fund to postpone a $5.4 billion disbursement.

* At US$678 million, Argentina's nonfinancial private sector sold 72% fewer U.S. dollars in September compared to the prior month amid tougher government controls on foreign currency purchases, El Cronista reported, citing the central bank data. Still, the newspaper noted that intervention has failed to stem a decline in the peso, which on Oct. 23 fell to 62 per US$1, its weakest level against the dollar since the presidential primary election in August.

* Javier Cesari will become the new chief executive for Argentina at payment processor First Data after Patricia Guarnes left the post, El Cronista reported.

* Argentine presidential frontrunner Alberto Fernández said dollar deposits would not be at risk if he is elected, in a bid to assuage concerns among bondholders and investors, La Nación reported. He also maintained that he was against any debt haircut for private bondholders.

* Four Chilean insurers — Sura, Metlife, Southbridge and BiceVida — could have to pay out up to $382 million in damages cover to underground rail operator Metro de Santiago, which was affected by violent protests on the weekend, Diario Financiero reported, citing a regulatory filing by the company that detailed its insurance policies.


* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro warned that Latin America's Mercosur trade bloc could be at risk should opposition candidate Alberto Fernández become Argentina's next president following elections this weekend, Reuters reported. Should Fernández not want to continue with current trade policies, Brazil may "get together" with fellow Mercosur members Paraguay and Uruguay "to make a decision," Bolsonaro reportedly said.


* Asia-Pacific: China to expand financing regulation; S&P: contagion risk in Indian finance up

* Middle East & Africa: UAE banks mull real estate lending cap; Commercial Bank's Q3 profit up YOY

* Europe: Nordea, RBS post losses; Bankia, ING urged to merge; SocGen sells Nordic unit

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

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