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B3's Q1 profit falls 15%; recession forecast for Argentina

* B3 SA – Brasil, Bolsa, Balcão posted recurring net income of 448.2 million Brazilian reais for the first quarter, down 15.0% from 527.2 million reais a year earlier. The company booked a loss of 22.5 million reais in its financial result, compared to a gain of 198.8 million reais a year ago.

* Research company Capital Economics said it now expects Argentina's GDP to contract 0.5% in 2018, compared to a previous forecast of 2.5% expansion. "The news that Argentina has started talks with the IMF over a full-blown bailout has masked the fact that — deal or no deal — the economy is likely to fall into recession this year," it said. In an interview with Infobae, Argentine Finance Minister Luis Caputo said a potential funding deal with the IMF would reduce the risk of the country falling into a recession in the near term.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* On the cryptocurrency front, Panama is the target of the first investment fund in the digital asset, Gestion reported. In search of opening a "Latin American financial hub," DigitalX fund is waiting for the approval of new legislation that regulates the business of digital currencies. The cryptocurrency start up is next going to examine market conditions in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil and Argentina.

* Banco La Hipotecaria SA will issue two series of negotiable commercial securities for a total of $5 million on May 16. The offering will include series BC securities worth $3.9 million and series BD notes worth $1.1 million.

* The overall credit portfolio of Mexico's banking sector grew 9.6% year over year in March to reach about 4.772 trillion Mexican pesos, according to data from banking regulator CNBV. The sector's delinquency rate stood at 2.19% at the end of March, up by 0.01 percentage point from a year earlier.

* U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said the U.S. government must be notified of a revamped NAFTA trade pact by May 17 in order to allow Congress to vote on it this year, Reuters reported.

* Mexican insurers must diversify their product range in order to increase coverage and boost low rates of insurance penetration in the country, El Economista reported, citing industry officials. The country's large young population makes it important for insurers to focus on the youth market.

* Guatemala's government accused the ambassadors of Sweden and Venezuela of interfering in Guatemala's domestic affairs and asked the two countries to withdraw the diplomats, Reuters reported. Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel said "nobody is being expelled, nor are we declaring anyone non grata. Bilateral relations continue."

BRAZIL

* Banco do Brasil SA said it will distribute dividends or interest on own capital for fiscal year 2018 corresponding to between 30% and 40% of its net profit for the year, higher than the company's previous mandatory minimum dividend equivalent to 25% of its annual net income.

* Banco Votorantim SA posted net income of 255 million reais for the first quarter, up from 127 million reais in the year-ago period. The bank's net interest income rose 11.8% annually to about 1.35 billion reais, while loan loss and impairment costs slid 22.4% to 326 million reais.

* Consumer loan defaults in Brazil fell 3.4% in April from the same month a year ago and declined 2.9% from March, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing data from credit research firm Boa Vista SCPC.

* Brazilian competition watchdog Cade has asked Banco Bradesco SA and Cielo SA for more information regarding their Bradesquinha card machine partnership, which was announced roughly two weeks ago, Folha de S.Paulo reported.

* Caixa Econômica Federal's board approved a set of measures aimed at improving corporate governance, including the creation of an executive board for internal controls and the creation of a transparency portal that will detail information on processes, policies and public-sector operations.

* Creditors of troubled conglomerate Odebrecht SA, including Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, are now spearheading efforts to sell the group's commuter rail unit after the company failed to reach an agreement with potential buyers, sources told Reuters.

ANDEAN

* Citibank del Perú SA appointed Maria Eugenia Gonzalez Acevedo as its new general manager, replacing Mario Farren.

* Peru's central bank decided to hold its monetary policy interest rate at 2.75%, noting that expectations for annual inflation in the country fell slightly to 2.17% in April.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Chile's government appointed Mario Farren Risopatrón as the new head of banking superintendency SBIF, effective May 14. He will replace Eric Parrado, who has led the SBIF since March 2014.

* Banco Macro SA said it will launch a share buyback program worth up to 4.50 billion Argentine pesos in response to the recent market volatility in Argentina. Under the program, the bank will only repurchase shares for a price at or below 158 pesos, which is markedly lower than its May 10 closing price of 182.90 pesos.

* Argentina's recently passed capital markets reform law will improve banks' capacity to securitize mortgages, which is a credit positive, Moody's said. The law will also address funding limits that had suppressed lending and will introduce rapid mortgage loan growth among banks this year.

* Argentina's central bank sold $139.5 million of foreign currency reserves in the spot market on May 10, with the peso closing up 0.04% at 22.71 per U.S. dollar, Reuters reported.

* International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the IMF is continuing discussions in order to set up a fund-supported program for Argentina, Reuters reported. The country and the IMF have agreed not to reveal the amount of financing or the terms until a final deal is reached.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: JPMorgan applies for China JV; ANZ may sell NZ life ops; Indian bank posts loss

* Middle East & Africa: US sanctions Iran currency network; South Sudan gets new central bank chief

* Europe: Monte Paschi, Piraeus Bank report Q1; Bank of England holds rates

* Global Markets: New York Markets Pre-Open: Dollar slips, yields ease after softer inflation data

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8:00 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.