* The International Monetary Fund's Executive Board approved an extended funding arrangement of $4.2 billion to Ecuador for support over the next three years. The deal affords Ecuador an immediate disbursement of $652 million, which will "[provide] support for the Ecuadorean government's economic policies over the next three years," the IMF said.
* BBVA Banco Francés SA's net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 more than doubled to 2.99 Argentine billion pesos from 1.36 billion pesos recorded in the year-ago period. Net interest income for the period grew to 8.46 billion pesos from 4.11 billion pesos a year ago while net fee income grew 135.8% annually to 1.50 billion pesos. These helped offset a 255.3% yearly increase in provisions for loan losses to 1.10 billion pesos.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a speech that while the country has seen slow economic growth, "there is no hint of a recession," Reuters reported. Data released by the country's statistics institute in January showed the country's economy grew by 2% in 2018.
* Banco do Brasil SA President Rubem Novaes said that it is not yet time for an IPO or the sale of the bank's fund manager, BB Gestão de Recursos-Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários SA, or BB DTVM, Valor Econômico reported. Novaes argues that the best option is to sign a private alliance that promotes other lines of business, since a sale would negatively impact the asset manager's results.
* S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term national scale credit rating on Banco Mercantil do Brasil SA to brBBB from brBBB-, citing the bank's improved capitalization. The bank's Tier 1 capital ratio fell to 8.6% in March 2018 because of deferred tax assets and a weak capital generation. However, the ratio improved to about 10.3% in December 2018, which is above the regulatory minimum of 8.5%, following a capital injection of 60 million reais.
* Brazilian private equity firm Gavea Investimentos SA is in the process of raising between $600 million and $1 billion for a new round of funding, Valor Econômico reported, citing two unnamed sources.
* Brazilian securities regulator CVM has opened a sanctioning process against Banco BTG Pactual SA for participating irregularly in the election of a representative of the fiscal council of steelmaker Gerdau SA at the company's 2016 general meeting, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported.
* Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra swore in Salvador del Solar as the new prime minister, Reuters reported. He previously served as culture minister for about a year under former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Vizcarra also replaced eight other ministers.
* S&P Global Ratings revised Peru-based BBVA Banco Continental SA's outlook to stable from negative after an improvement in the bank's capitalization metrics, and also revised its stand-alone credit profile to "bbb+" from "bbb." S&P Global Ratings expects BBVA Banco Continental to maintain its improved capitalization, sound operating results and conservative underwriting standards.
* The U.S. State Department ordered this week the withdrawal of its remaining diplomatic personnel in its embassy in Venezuela due to the "deteriorating situation" in the country, though it did not set a date for when those personnel would leave, Reuters reported. Washington first ordered the withdrawal of embassy staff in January. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan Congress declared a "state of alarm" in relation to a five-day blackout in the country. Businesses and schools have been suspended for March 12.
* Banco Macro SA is planning to continue investing its excess liquidity in high-yielding notes issued by the Argentine central bank in 2019 to offset weak loan demand expected for the year. Banco Macro's position in Leliq treasury notes stood at roughly 55 billion pesos at the end of the fourth quarter, representing 81.3% of total public sector assets. "The spread (against time deposits) was extremely positive for the bank," CFO Jorge Scarinci said in a conference call, referring to fourth-quarter 2018 results where the net profit rose 67% annually.
* Chilean automobile financing business FORUM Servicios Financieros SA has detailed its 2018 financials in a corporate presentation to investors, a move seen as a key step in a planned sale of the company by Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA. In 2018, Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia bought Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Chile SA, and Scotiabank is considered as one of the "strongest" suitors to buy FORUM, Diario Financiero reported, citing market sources.
* The board at BBVA Banco Francés SA approved a measure that will see the bank absorb brokerage unit BBVA Francés Valores SA. Shareholders will be asked to approve the combination at an April 24 meeting.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: Citi to open Singapore currency trading hub; ORIX mulls overseas asset arm sale
* Middle East & Africa: Regulator clears 2 Saudi banks' merger; Absa, Old Mutual post higher results
* Europe: New Brexit deal up for vote; US targets Evrofinance; Denmark zeroes in on banks
Pablo Jiménez Arandia contributed to this article.
This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.
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