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Currency tensions ahead of Argentine election; BMG prices IPO at range bottom


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Currency tensions ahead of Argentine election; BMG prices IPO at range bottom

* Demand for dollars has surged among Argentine savers in the final days before the country's presidential election this weekend, prompting some online currency houses to limit their operating hours, Clarín and El Cronista reported. The Argentine central bank, meanwhile, has been selling international reserves in an effort to prop up the peso. On Thursday alone, it sold $346 million in reserves, though the peso still weakened to to 59.80 per US$1 at the end of the day, Reuters noted. As the peso fell to a new low against the dollar, the government's economic team was preparing measures to calm markets during the post-election period, according to La Nación.

* Banco BMG SA priced its initial public offering at 11.60 reais per share, at the bottom of previous range guidance of 11.60 reais to 13.40 reais, Valor Econômico reported citing an unnamed source. The pricing values the offering at 1.6 billion reais.


* Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV's third-quarter profit rose 13% year over year to 8.86 billion Mexican pesos as the company recorded a 3% rise in net interest income and a 162% surge in trading income. The trading results included 760 million pesos in gains generated from treasury operations, a gain of 400 million pesos from "the correct positioning in fixed income in a highly volatile quarter," and a 155 million-peso gain on the sale of available-for-sale securities.

* Recent economic growth and inflationary data could nudge Mexico's central bank toward another rate cut, Reuters reported. Figures from the national statistics agency put the country's economic growth at 0.1% for the month of August, while consumer price data for the first two weeks of October was below consensus forecasts at 3.01%.

* Mobile banking use in Mexico increased by 60% in 2018 at the same time that access to bank branches slipped 0.36%, according to the Citibanamex Financial Inclusion Index, El Financiero reported. Separately, the bank said 100,000 customers were already using the CoDi mobile payments app launched across the Mexican banking system last month.

* Banco Nacional de México SA Integrante del Grupo Financiero Banamex CEO Ernesto Torres Cantú will become Citigroup Inc.'s chief executive for Latin America. He will replace Jane Fraser, who will become Citi's president, and CEO of global consumer banking.


* State-owned Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social said that its disbursements for the year through September totaled 38 billion Brazilian reais, down 13% year over year. New financing approvals fell 35% from a year ago, to 32.3 billion reais.

* Fernando Rocha, Banco Central do Brasil's statistics head, said foreign direct investment for the month of October so far has totaled $5.73 billion and estimates it could reach $7.2 billion for the whole month, Reuters reported.

* Fintech companies operating in Brazil see scope for strong growth in the industry due to improvements in central bank regulations and a low cost of capital, Valor Econômico reported in an analysis.

* PayPal is expected to announce in the coming weeks that it will start offering credit to users of its digital wallet in Brazil, Valor Econômico reported. It will initially offer it to a select group as part of a pilot project, but plans to eventually roll it out to the platform's 350,000 vendors.


* Colombia's economy is "well equipped" to weather "a challenging external environment dominated by protectionism and uncertainty," according to a new study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The OECD expects the country's GDP growth to hit 3.4% this year and 3.5% in 2020 — stronger than many of its regional peers — though it also warned that trade tensions, geopolitical uncertainties and weaker advanced economies continue to pose risks.

* Jose Antonio Ocampo, a board member at Colombia's central bank, predicted that inflationary pressure should ease in the months ahead, even as analysts expect to see further increases, Reuters reported. The comments came after recent data showed that inflation rose 3.82% over the 12-month period to September.

* Bolivia's top electoral board released the final results of the country's recent presidential election, giving incumbent President Evo Morales a more-than 10-point lead over rival candidate Carlos Mesa. Reuters reported that the result means Morales will win a fourth term as president without having to face a runoff election.

* Credit to Peru's private sector — which includes loans from banks, financing companies and savings and loans cooperatives — rose 7.5% in September year-over-year, El Comercio reported, citing central bank data. Lending to individuals increased by 11.6%, while lending to companies rose by 5%.

* Corporación Financiera de Desarrollo SA sold 100 million Peruvian soles of 3-year bonds on Oct. 24, though demand reached 193.4 million soles. The bonds carry a fixed rate at 3.78125%.


* Despite an economic crisis, Argentina's fintech companies are struggling to fill new job vacancies, prompting the fast-growing industry to launch a labour exchange, Clarín reported. Argentina has some 223 fintech companies, 60% more than a year ago. Companies have struggled particularly to hire developers and engineers.

* Argentina's central bank president, Guido Sandleris, has hired currency control expert Jorge Rodríguez as an adviser to the board of directors, El Cronista reported. Rodríguez has previously served as general manager at the monetary authority as well as head of the foreign trade department.

* Paraguayan lawmakers passed legislation that regulates freezing the financial assets of people suspected of having terrorism links, 5 Días reported. The measure, which aims to bring the nation in line with international standards, still needs to be promulgated by the executive.

* Some $1.2 billion in spending measures announced by the Chilean government following widespread civil unrest this week will likely increase next year's fiscal deficit to 2.3% of GDP compared with the 2.0% envisioned in the budget, Sergio Lehmann, chief economist at Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA, said according to La Tercera/Pulso. José Manuel Mena, president of the banking industry association, welcomed the measures outlined by President Sebastián Piñera, especially a plan to subsidize the minimum wage for small companies, Diario Financiero reported. Many bank branches were damaged during the protests, causing concern among employees, the newspaper said separately.


* Asia-Pacific: China Vanke Q3 profit rises 31.64% YOY; HNA to transfer stake in US$3.6B project

* Europe: Barclays' Q3 loss; Commerzbank plan concern; Bank J. Safra Sarasin criminal case

* Middle East & Africa: NCB, First Abu Dhabi post higher profits; Angola ups bank cash reserve ratio

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

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