* Banco de México lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 8.00%, marking the central bank's first rate cut in more than five years. The decision came after slower economic activity continued in the second quarter of 2019 and as headline inflation fell to 3.78% from 3.95% between June and July.
* Banco Davivienda SA booked a second-quarter net profit of 362 billion Colombian pesos, up 28.8% from 281 billion pesos in the year-ago period. The bank's interest income increased 11.1% year over year to about 2.611 trillion pesos, while net provision expenses ticked 9.5% higher to 620 billion pesos.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Panama-based MMG Bank Corp. said Chairman Eduardo Morgan Gonzalez has retired after serving in the position for 17 years. The company picked board member Roberto Lewis to replace Morgan Gonzalez.
* Aegon NV has decided to wind down its Mexican asset management joint venture. Aegon CEO Alex Wynaendts said the business, Akaan Transamerica, "did not meet our financial objectives." Aegon had announced the joint venture with Mexican wealth manager Administradora Akaan in October 2017.
* Foreign direct investments to Mexico will grow 2.5% in 2019, slower than 2018 growth of 15.2%, El Financiero reported, citing data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
* AXA SA's Mexican unit hopes to achieve double-digit growth this year despite the country's weak economic growth, El Economista reported, citing AXA's CEO for Mexico Daniel Bandle.
* Banco Central do Brasil will play a bigger role in supervising insurance and pension funds with the creation of a new regulatory body called ASPC, Valor Econômico reported. The ASPC, which will oversee the insurance and complementary pension markets, will be led by economist Solange Vieira.
* PagSeguro Digital Ltd.'s second-quarter profit shot 41.8% higher from a year ago to about 322.8 million reais. Net revenue from transaction activities and other services rose 55.1% annually to 798.9 million reais, offsetting a 29.0% decline in net revenue from sales.
* Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said Latin America's largest economy will withdraw from the Mercosur regional trade bloc if Argentina's opposition party wins the upcoming presidential election and adopts protectionist policies, Reuters reported.
* The Brazilian real grew by up to 1% in early trades on Aug. 15, and was 4.0116 reais to a U.S. dollar at the highest, Reuters reported. The country's central bank also said the outright sale of dollars in the spot market may help reduce gross public debt, the newswire reported separately.
* The Brazilian CVM securities commission is open to discuss a regulatory change in situations of potential conflict of interest of controlling shareholders within a company, Valor Econômico reported, citing the institution's chief, Marcelo Barbosa.
* Caixa Econômica Federal will return to the Brazilian Treasury 7.35 billion reais linked to hybrid capital and debt instruments, Valor Econômico reported. The bank had already repaid 3 billion reais in June, bringing the total to about 10 billion reais so far, or about a quarter of the 40 billion reais granted to the bank in the form of those instruments. Caixa President Pedro Guimarães reiterated the bank's aim to return 20 billion reais this year.
* Brazil's BTX Digital will soon launch a digital bank to be called Caras Bank, Valor Econômico reported, citing BTX president Fernando Oliveira. The new financial entity will have an initial investment of 100 million reais for the purchase of point-of-sale machines and another 250 million reais for marketing and advertising.
* Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he is eliminating sales taxes of about 21% on basic food items through the end of 2019, Reuters reported. The announcement is the latest in a series of economic relief measures Macri has unveiled following his loss to opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez in primary elections held Aug. 11.
* The Argentine peso ended a three-day slump as it jumped almost 5% on Aug. 15 to close at 57.4 pesos per U.S. dollar, Reuters reported. The currency movement came amid signs that President Mauricio Macri is looking to control an economic crisis triggered by his defeat in recently held primary elections.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: Ping An Insurance H1 up 68.1%; MLC to restructure; Japan is top US T-bill holder
* Middle East & Africa: Provisions dent Hapoalim Q2 profit; KCB H1 profit up; Ghana's liquidity squeeze
* Europe: ECB website hacked; Volksbank warns about H2 profit; Latvian bank deemed failing
Pablo Jiménez Arandia contributed to this article.
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