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Grupo Sura completes purchase of RSA's Colombian operations


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Grupo Sura completes purchase of RSA's Colombian operations

* RSA Insurance GroupPlc said it completedthe sale of its operations in Colombia to Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA unit . Grupo Sura saidin a statement that it plans to mergethe acquired Colombian operations with unit Seguros Generales Suramericana. Theconsolidation is not expected to take more than six months.


* issued an 18-month worth 1.00 billion Mexican pesos, El Economista reported.

* Moody's affirmedMexico's A3 issuer and government bond ratings but the outlook to negative fromstable. The negative outlook balances the government's strong commitment toachieve fiscal consolidation and contain oil firm Pemex's liquidity pressures againstthe challenges from subdued economic activity and a low oil price environment.

* Growth for thecredit card portfolios of Mexican banks continues to lag relative to otherconsumer loan products, Fitch Ratings said. The slowergrowth is due to a number of factors, including the change in appetite forplacing this product from banking, the increasing availability of alternativeproducts with more favorable conditions, and a change in payment behavior amongusers.

* At a paneldiscussion in Mexico, BBVABancomer SA CEO Eduardo Osuna urged investors to maintain their confidencein the Mexican market, saying that the country has strong loan demand, El Economista reported.

* Commercialbanking creditto the private sector in Mexico grew 12.8% annually in February, while consumercredit increased 8.8%, El Economistareported, citing a monetary and financial activity report from .

* The savings andloan cooperatives sector in Mexico posted a total profitof about 1.87 billion Mexican pesos in 2015, up 46.4% from the previous year, El Economista reported, citing bankingand securities commission CNBV.


* Brazil'sinsurance industry, excluding the health segment, posted premiums growth of 10%in 2015, well below the 17% per year average seen from 2010 to 2013, Fitch Ratingssaid. Premium growth will remain under pressurethroughout 2016, the rating agency said, noting that a continuing rise inunemployment and persistently high inflation are ongoing risks.

* said itcompleted its acquisition of BTG Pactual Group's debt collection firm, Recovery doBrasil Consultoria SA. Itaú purchased an 89.08% stake in Recovery, where 81.94%of that was acquired from BTG and 7.14% from other shareholders.

* Moody'swithdrew its Ba1long-term issuer and corporate family ratings on , as well as the company's long-term Braziliannational scale issuer rating of Moody's also assigned first-timeratings to Banco RCI Brasil SA, including long- and short-term global localcurrency deposit ratings of Ba1 and Not-Prime, respectively.

* Brazilianauthorities filed corruptioncharges against banker Joseph Safra for allegedly paying bribes togovernment officials in return for writing off corporate tax debts. Safra andhis family control São Paulo-based Safra Group, an international banking and financialconglomerate. The company has denied the allegations.

* Brazil's SupremeCourt decided to assume responsibility for a corruptioncase involving former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, takingthe matter away from the hands of a federal judge who recently released audioof a conversation between Lula and President Dilma Rousseff, Reuters reported.Separately, the top court is still reviewing Rousseff's appointmentof Lula as her chief of staff, Bloomberg News reported.

* Brazilian VicePresident Michel Temer, who could become head of state if President DilmaRousseff is ousted from office, is working on a pro-business economicplan to renew confidence in the economy in case Rousseff is impeached,insiders told Reuters. However, Temer himself could be removed if the SupremeElectoral Court discovers that graft money financed the 2014 election campaignwhen he ran on Rousseff's ticket.

* A recently passedlaw in Brazil that allows public banks Caixa Econômica Federal and to acquire equityparticipation in public and private companies could give the government moreflexibility to use the two banks to meet policy goals, Moody's said. However,any plans to purchase equity in other companies would likely drain capital,reducing the banks' capacity to absorb unexpected losses.

* The overall profitof publicly traded companies in Brazil fell 87.2% year over year in 2015 toabout 14 billion Brazilian reais, Folhade S.Paulo reported, citing data from research firm Economatica.

* Brazil's nationalmonetary council decided to maintainits long-term interest rate, the TJLP, at 7.5% for the next three months, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviçosreported. This is reportedly the first time the monetary council has notincreased the rate since the end of 2014.


* Peruvianauthorities have launched a probe into presidential candidate Pedro PabloKuczynski for allegedly distributing gifts at a rally earlier in 2016,BNamericas reported. As a result, Kuczynski could be disqualifiedfrom the April 10 election.

* approved a $30 million loanto Peru's Banco Agropecuario,Gestión reported. The loan will beused to provide financing to small- and medium-scale farmers in theagricultural export sector.

* PeruvianProduction Minister Piero Ghezzi said the government plans to approve up to 18million Peruvian soles of fundingfor projects that generate innovative goods and support the local economy'sdevelopment, Gestión reported.

* 'sshareholders approved a dividendpayment of 4.90 Colombian pesos per share corresponding to the company'searnings for the second half of 2015, LaRepública reported.


* ConsorcioFinanciero SA said the International Finance Corp. will an 8.3% stake in the company for$140 million, paying 1.5x the book value for its shares in the Chilean company.

* Argentine Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay will start a roadshowin Europe and the U.S. on April 11 for a bond sale that will allow the countryto repay its holdout creditors, La Naciónreported.

* Banking customers in Argentina can now open savings accounts and obtaindebit cards for free under a measure from the central bank aimed at boostingcompetition in the industry, Cronistareported. Local banks have started informing clients that they will increasethe commissionsthey charge by up to 20% in June.


* The IMF said in a report that financial institutions in countrieslike Brazil and Colombia have increased their presencein regional markets as a result of several major international banks pullingaway from Latin America, Diário ComércioIndústria & Serviços reported. The IMF also warned that the withdrawalof global banks could pose challengesfor local banking sectors since Latin America is in need of considerablefinancing to revive economic growth, Bloomberg News reported.

* Luis Manuel Ordóñez, head of research at Intéligo Sociedad Agente deBolsa, said the Lima stock exchange ended the first quarter as the second most profitablebourse in Latin America after Brazil, ElComercio reported.


* A number ofJapanese banks will start imposing chargeson money they hold for clients to curb costs incurred from the Bank of Japan'snegative interest rate policy, London's FinancialTimes reported. Takeshi Kunibe, who is set to become chairman of theJapanese Bankers Association, said there will likely be a spike in overseasacquisitions by Japanese companies due to the country's negative interest ratepolicy, the publication reportedseparately. Kunibe is president of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

* Eiji Nakai,Barclays Plc's CEOfor Japan, is due to leave the firm June30, Bloomberg News reported, citing internal memos. Nakai will also relinquishthe role of co-CEO for Asia Pacific, leaving Andrew Jones as the sole CEO.

* The U.K.'sPrudential Regulation and Financial Conduct authorities confirmed the launch of Flood Re. The government-backedscheme, which is designed to help provide customers better access to affordableflood insurance cover, will start accepting policies on Monday. Up to 350,000households are expected to benefit from the scheme.

* Chairman UrsRohner rejectedreports that there was a lack of internal risk management in the bank thatenabled traders to bulk up holdings of distressed debt and other illiquidpositions, Handelsblatt writes."There were no blind spots," he said.

Paula Mejiacontributed to this article.

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