* Royal Bank of Canada said it agreed to sell banking operations it owns in the Eastern Caribbean to a consortium of five local banks, including 1st National Bank St. Lucia Ltd, Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd, National Bank of Dominica Ltd, Bank of Montserrat Ltd and Bank of Nevis Ltd The deal includes the Canadian bank's branches in Antigua, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis; it also includes the regional businesses operating under RBC Royal Bank (EC) Holdings Ltd. in Nevis, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
* Peru's central bank held its benchmark interest rate steady at 2.25%, noting that its inflation projection has a "moderate downward bias" due to the possibility of lower-than-expected growth in demand. Annual inflation in the country fell slightly to 1.87% in November from 1.88% in the previous month, the bank said.
* Bank of Baroda agreed to sell unit Bank of Baroda (Trinidad & Tobago) Ltd. to Ansa Merchant Bank Ltd. The deal is subject to approval from the central bank of Trinidad & Tobago.
* S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on the global scale ratings on 15 financial services companies in Brazil to positive from stable. The move follows a similar action on Brazil's sovereign ratings.
* Caixa Econômica Federal President Pedro Guimarães said the limit for withdrawals from the FGTS workers' severance fund has been raised to 998 reais per account from 500 reais previously, which will allow for the release of 2.5 billion reais until Christmas, UOL reported.
* Brazilian financial services firm XP Inc. said it will use the $1 billion of proceeds it received from its recent initial public offering to improve its banking unit and expand its product offering, Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Folha de S.Paulo reported that Julio Capua stepped down as XP's finance director after the IPO, but still has a seat on the company's board of directors.
* Wiz Soluções e Corretagem de Seguros SA CEO Heverton Peixoto said the insurance broker will pursue new deals and possible acquisitions in 2020 to reduce the company's dependence on partner Caixa Econômica Federal, which is in talks to renew a partnership agreement with France-based CNP Assurances SA, Reuters reported.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social President Gustavo Montezano said the bank will have to deal with a 561 million reais default on a loan to Cuba, Estadão reported.
* Colombia's Coltefinanciera SA Compañía de Financiamiento said Héctor Camargo Salgar will step down as president Dec. 31. Gilda Pabón Gudiño, who has been on the company's board since 2010, will replace Camargo Salgar.
* Argentina has granted asylum to former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is on the path to "definitive refugee status," Reuters reported, citing Argentina's interior ministry. Morales fled Bolivia in November following a controversial election.
* An affiliate of the Inter-American Development Bank has granted a loan of 120.60 billion Colombian pesos to Banco de las Microfinanzas - Bancamía SA, which will use the funds to boost lending to micro entrepreneurs, La República reported.
* Peru's SBS banking regulator announced an intervention into local financial firm Financiera TFC SA after a sharp fall in assets during the last 12 months and noncompliance with regulatory requirements, Gestión reported. The company's operations have been suspended.
* Chile's Chamber of Deputies voted 79-73 to reject a motion to impeach President Sebastian Pinera over accusations that he failed to protect human rights during weeks of violent protests, Reuters reported. The chamber decided that the motion did not meet the constitutional requirements for removing a sitting president.
* The Santiago Stock Exchange has received approval from Chilean financial markets commission CMF to launch a stock options market, Diario Financiero reported.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* Banco Santander SA hired analysts from UBS Group AG, Citigroup Inc and Safra, expanding its Latin American research team to 28 people, Reuters reported. The hires include Alan Alanis as head of Mexico strategy and sector head for food and beverage, and Maria Tereza Azevedo as sector head for technology, media and telecoms.
* The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said it expects Latin America and the Caribbean to grow just 0.1% on average in 2019 before expansion accelerates around 1.3% next year. "The 2014-2020 period will mark the lowest growth in the last seven decades for the economies of Latin America and the Caribbean," the commission said.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Middle East & Africa: Fitch downgrades Lebanon; Mozambique's central bank holds key rate
* Europe: Johnson wins UK polls; ING capital requirement up; Moneta inks €180M deal
Pablo Jimenez 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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