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Argentina cuts key rate anew; 4 Brazil firms seek to bid for Guide Investimentos


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Argentina cuts key rate anew; 4 Brazil firms seek to bid for Guide Investimentos

* Argentina's central bank lowered the rate floor of its seven-day Leliq notes to 50% from 52%, its fourth rate cut in under one month. The monetary authority said the rate was cut in the expectation of an "imminent extension" of the terms for the Leliq, historically low monetary indicators and high nominal and real interest rates.

* A group of four Brazilian investment brokerage firms linked to XP Investimentos SA is interested in making a bid for Guide Investimentos SA Corretora de Valores, Valor Econômico reported. The group, made up of Acqua, EQI Investimentos, Messem and Monte Bravo, was mainly interested in Guide's client portfolio and its asset management structure. China's Fosun International Ltd, which controls Guide, wants to sell part or all of its stake in the brokerage.


* Guatemala's new finance minister, Álvaro González Ricci, and his deputy ministers, were sworn into office, promising austerity measures, higher tax collection and greater transparency, El Periodico reported.

* Costa Rica's Banco Popular y de Desarrollo Comunal SA said Carlos Arias Alvarado had resigned as chairman effective Jan. 20. Vice Chairman Raúl Espinoza Guido will replace Arias Alvarado in the interim.

* Fitch Ratings downgraded its long- and short-term foreign-currency issuer default ratings on Suriname to CCC/C from B-/B, as well as its long-term senior unsecured ratings to CCC from B-. Fitch cited mounting government debt levels along with reduced financing flexibility in its ratings downgrade.


* Brazil's central bank recorded a 0.18% increase in economic activity for November 2019 from the linked month, and up 1.10% from November 2018, Reuters reported. Activity for the three months to November 2019 grew 0.75%.

* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA priced an issuance of $1 billion in senior notes due 2023 at a fixed rate of 2.9%, and another $500 million in notes due 2025 at a fixed rate of 3.25%. Both issuances were priced at 100% of their face value. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

* A long-awaited follow-on offering of half of the shares that Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social holds in meat processing company JBS SA will not take place this month, as had been expected, due to administrative delays within the development bank, according to O Estado de S. Paulo's Broadcast column.


* Peru's fiscal deficit fell to 1.6% of GDP in 2019 from 2.3% the previous year, narrowing to its lowest level since 2014 due mainly to higher revenues, El Comercio reported, citing the central bank.

* Banco Internacional del Perú SAA registered consumer credit portfolio growth in 2019 of 15%, its second consecutive year of growth, a bank executive told El Comercio in an interview. The bank currently has a 27% market share in the credit card segment.

* A proposal to integrate the main stock exchanges of Peru, Chile and Colombia would mean a holding company has to be established to control the three bourses, El Tiempo reported, quoting an unnamed source close to the talks. "It is very certain that a holding company that is controlling the stock exchanges in the three countries and that in each one there is a base structure that can offer the service, as it has worked in other regions of the world," the source reportedly said.


* The Argentine central bank will allow companies to buy dollars at the official exchange rate as of Jan. 17 for the purposes of paying overseas dividends, but strict conditions will be applied, El Cronista reported. Companies will not be allowed to buy dollars within 30 days of selling greenbacks into the local forex market, and they will only be able to purchase 30% of what they sell.

* Argentine banks will have to pay at least 1.0% in additional interest on inflation-adjusted UVA fixed-term deposits under new central bank regulations that will take effect on Feb. 1, La Nación reported. The regulations will also allow savers to deposit in UVA-adjusted accounts for 30 days, instead of the previous 90-day minimum.

* The pension reform proposals announced by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera this week have drawn criticism from the country's private pension fund administrators, La Tercera reported. One of the proposals involves returning some commission fees to affiliates if the funds post losses, a measure industry figures said would end up distorting the funds' investment decisions and eroding their profitability.


* Asia-Pacific: Ant Financial said to revive IPO; Indian bank plans regulatory action exit

* Middle East & Africa: South Africa cuts key rate; Al Hilal Bank to sell Islamic insurance ops

* Europe: Danske Estonia probe widens; ING sees defeat in Italy; Erste rules out mBank bid

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

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