* Banco Santander (Brasil) SA said it signed a binding agreement with HDI Seguros SA to create a new insurance company called Santander Auto, which will focus on the underwriting, offering and commercialization of auto insurance policies. Santander Auto will be 50% owned by Santander Brasil unit SANCAP Investimentos e Participações and 50% by HDI. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
* Peru's Congress will vote on whether to oust President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski today over his previous business ties with scandal-plagued construction firm Odebrecht, Reuters reported. Kuczynski described the push to remove him as an attempted "coup," indicating that both his vice presidents would step down if he is ousted.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV CEO Marcos Ramírez said the bank expects Mexico's federal competition commission, Cofece, to authorize its merger with Grupo Financiero Interacciones SAB de CV by the end of the second quarter of 2018, El Financiero reported. Banorte is confident that the agency will approve the deal despite the resulting concentration in the government credit segment.
* Corporacion de Finanzas del Pais SA plans to offer up to $750,000 in six-month, revolving negotiable commercial securities Dec. 21. The series AA notes will carry a 4.25% interest rate.
* Guatemala's central bank plans to reduce its interventions in the foreign exchange market in 2018 due to a reduction in dollar supplies that caused the quetzal to appreciate during 2017, El Periodico reported, citing a statement by the monetary authority.
* Brazilian consumer credit demand rose 3.9% in November from the year-ago period, according to data from credit research firm Boa Vista SCPC. Credit demand from the consumer segment also ticked 5.1% higher from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
* Brazil's central bank cut its forecast for the country's 2017 current account deficit to $9.2 billion from $16 billion and its 2018 deficit forecast to $18.4 billion from $30 billion, Reuters reported. Brazil's government, meanwhile, freed up about 5.00 billion reais in public spending this year after lowering its forecast for primary expenses by about 4.57 billion reais, the newswire reported separately.
* Brazilian payment processing company PagSeguro, part of Universo Online, has bought a controlling stake in the Biva credit fintech firm for more than 11 million reais, Reuters reported, citing a source "with knowledge of the deal."
* A surprise protest by banking union members blocked the entrance to Banco Santander (Brasil) SA's São Paulo headquarters on Dec. 20, Valor Econômico reported. The union said the protest was over the bank's application of labor reform measures, 200 recent layoffs and payment for overtime hours and holidays.
* Venezuela's Constituent Assembly said political parties who shunned local elections earlier in December have lost their legitimacy, Reuters reported. The ruling potentially removes the country's main opposition parties from running in next year's presidential election.
* Gianfranco Ferrari de las Casas will start work as Banco de Crédito del Perú's new general manager in April 2018, replacing Walter Bayly, who will stay on as general manager of the Credicorp holding company, El Comercio reported, citing a securities filing.
* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Colombia SA's loan portfolio increased by 7% in the year ending October to reach 40 trillion pesos despite a slowdown in the local economy, CEO Óscar Cabrera told La República. He said default levels had affected the bank's net profit and would continue to do so until at least June 2018. He added that the elimination of charges for customer transfers between different banks would take effect in January.
* Banco Santander Chile announced the launch of Santander Life, a new business model for the mass consumer market involving "a new generation of digital products" that rewards positive credit behavior.
* Seguros CLC SA said Víctor Torres Puelma resigned as a director, a position he had been serving in since April.
* A group of 24 Paraguayan senators have urged President Horacio Cartes to dismiss central bank Governor Carlos Fernández Valdovinos after the latter was photographed at a political rally with a presidential candidate, which constitutes a violation of the central bank's political activity rules, Ultima Hora reported.
* Members of Argentina's leading La Bancaria union will stop work at 1 p.m. today to discuss a pension reform plan at state-run Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Clarín reported. The union has also rejected a 9% pay offer made by banks.
* Argentina's economy grew 4.2% in the third quarter year-over-year, boosted by consumer and investment activity, La Nación reported, citing the INDEC national statistics agency. GDP expanded 0.9% from the previous quarter.
* Argentina's capital market reform bill will not be debated by the Senate until February 2018 as the government prioritized controversial pension and tax legislation passed this week, El Cronista reported. Economic analysts said the delay in the long-awaited legislation was a bad sign for the country’s financial markets.
* Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA will extend a planned capital increase to $500 million following its $148 million purchase of Walmart's financial portfolio in Chile, Pulso reported. The bank had previously announced a $365 million capital hike after it agreed to buy Miami-based TotalBank earlier this month. Separately, S&P Global Ratings said the Walmart deal would not immediately affect the bank's credit rating, Diario Financiero reported.
* Chile's central bank assigned $30 million of the $500 million in dollar currency hedges it offered to bolster foreign currency liquidity in the local market in the weeks following Sunday's presidential election, Pulso reported. The monetary authority noted that the interest rate in dollars had fallen significantly while analysts said the victory of pro-market Sebastián Piñera meant the issuer's measures were no longer necessary.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* Fitch Ratings said its rating and sector outlooks for non-bank financial institutions in Latin America are stable for 2018, reflecting conditions that should be favorable for the industry's growth.
* Swiss Re AG said it estimates total insured losses from natural and man-made catastrophes in 2017 at $136 billion, up from $65 billion in 2016. Total economic losses from catastrophes in 2017 are set to hit $306 billion, up from $188 billion in 2016, the firm said.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Middle East & Africa: ANC calls for SARB nationalization; Reserve Bank of Malawi cuts policy rate
* Europe: EU banks can keep UK ops post-Brexit; job cuts at Deutsche; Sweden holds rate
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Some external links may require a subscription.