* DBRS lowered Brazil's long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings to BB (low) from BB, saying the delayed passage of a pension reform bill has led to the weakening of the country's public debt sustainability outlook. DBRS also believes that Brazil's public debt dynamics are unlikely to stabilize in the near term, and expects its primary balance to rise to 1.9% of GDP in 2025 after shifting to a surplus in 2021.
* Former Banco de Chile General Manager Arturo Tagle Quiroz has been named the president of state-run Banco del Estado de Chile, Pulso reported, citing Finance Minister Felipe Larraín.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Fitch Ratings affirmed Mexico's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating at BBB+ with a stable outlook, citing the country's diversified economic base and its track record of disciplined economic policies that anchor macroeconomic stability in the country and contain its imbalances.
* The credit portfolios of Mexican commercial banks and other lenders such as development banks and savings cooperatives grew more slowly in 2017, expanding by 2.3% year over year through September 2017, compared with an expansion of 9.2% during the same period in 2016, El Economista reported, citing the CNBV's third-quarter 2017 report.
* Savings and credit cooperative Caja Popular Mexicana said it would launch its own credit card in June 2019, El Economista reported. The entity said in a statement it expected to issue at least 22,000 cards among its more than 2 million members, becoming the first firm of its kind to do so.
* Fitch Ratings downgraded Cielo SA's long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings to BB+ from BBB-, while revising the outlook to stable from negative. This follows the negative ratings action on Brazil's sovereign ratings which resulted in the downgrade of several major card-issuing banks, which are the counterparty risk for a substantial portion of Cielo's Visa-related credit and debit transactions.
* S&P Global Ratings raised the issuer credit ratings of J. Malucelli Seguradora SA and J. Malucelli Resseguradora SA to brAA- from brA+ with a stable outlook, citing their strategic importance for parent Paraná Banco SA. J. Malucelli's credit quality would also not be immediately impacted in case the credit quality of its controller deteriorates, S&P added.
* The Brazilian securities commission is investigating Banco BTG Pactual SA, Banco de Investimentos Credit Suisse (Brasil) SA, UBS Brasil Banco de Investimento SA, AZ Legan Participações SA, and Ashmore Brasil Gestora de Recursos Ltda. over possible irregularities in the selling of shares in telecommunications firm Oi in 2014, Valor Econômico reported.
* Rossi Residencial, one of Brazil's largest construction companies, said it had reached an agreement to restructure about 1.27 billion reais in debt with Banco Bradesco SA and Banco do Brasil SA, Valor Econômico reported.
* Speaking before Peru's Congress, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski disclosed that he used British Virgin Islands-based Dorado Asset Management Ltd. to legally avoid paying U.S. taxes on properties owned in Peru, Reuters reported based on an audio recording. Opposition lawmaker Karina Beteta confirmed the accuracy of the recording.
* Peruvian banks are diversifying profit sources by increasing income from commissions and other charges, making them more resilient to interest rate volatility, SEMANAeconómica reported, citing research from Credicorp Capital. It said fee income rose 43% year on year in November 2017 although profitability measured by return on average equity was still 2.5 percentage points lower than a year earlier.
* Bancolombia SA carried out a public deed to acquire a piece of real estate in the city of Medellin from Alianza Fiduciaria SA, paying a total of about 89.81 billion Colombian pesos for the property.
* Argentine consumer defense association ADUC has filed a class-action lawsuit against BBVA Banco Francés SA over the bank's alleged mishandling of communication when it sent certain information electronically and other documents physically without client consent. Banco Francés said the case will not significantly affect its activity.
* The Argentine central bank intervened in the spot currency market March 16, selling $413 million, Reuters reported. The Argentine peso grew to 20.17 pesos to the dollar at the end of that day, having been at a low of 20.39 pesos to a dollar earlier that day. Central bank President Federico Sturzenegger said the local currency will be more stable against the dollar for the rest of the year, playing down the significance of recent dollar sales by the issuer to stem the peso's decline, El Cronista reported.
* Former Argentine central bank Director Jorge Bolzico will become the next president of the country's Adeba banking industry association, El Cronista reported. The report said he would be elected at the group's mid-April assembly meeting.
* Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has chosen BTG Pactual Chile, Credicorp Capital Asset Management, Moneda and Altis to manage a $1.17 billion blind trust during his term in office, SEMANAeconómica reported. Under Chilean law, presidents are required to place their assets into blind trusts during their terms.
* Banco de Chile CEO Eduardo Ebensperger told Diario Financiero in an interview that the bank expects credit for housing, consumers and companies to grow this year as the economy rebounds. Referring to the banking law reform, he said banking secrecy must be protected. Ebensperger also did not rule out a possible issue of perpetual bonds.
* Chile's Banco Consorcio obtained a three-year syndicated loan for $105.5 million from the United Kingdom's Standard Chartered and HSBC, Spain's Bankinter SA and CaixaBank, the United States' BAC Florida, Germany's AKA Bank, and the State Bank of India.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* Colombia's Suramericana SA announced it is setting up a new subsidiary in Brazil called Inversiones Sura Brasil Participações Ltda. Suramericana will fully control the new company through its Colombian subsidiaries Inversiones Sura Brasil SAS and Operaciones Generales Suramericana SAS, and will hold an initial investment of 1,000 reais in the new company, divided into 1,000 shares.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: China to name central bank governor; HSBC boosting Singapore ops
* Middle East & Africa: Dexia sells Israeli unit stake; Moody's cuts Oman; Mauritian president resigns
This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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