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Chile central bank cuts 2019 GDP outlook; Itaú officials face tax suit


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Chile central bank cuts 2019 GDP outlook; Itaú officials face tax suit

* Chile's central bank cut its 2019 GDP growth forecast to 1% from between 2.25% and 2.75% previously, while lowering its 2020 expectation to a range of 0.5% to 1.5% from 2.75% to 3.75% earlier, Reuters reported. The bank said the country's "macroeconomic scenario suffered an abrupt change after mid-October" when violent protests against social inequality erupted.

* The inquiry commission of the São Paulo city council accused 97 directors of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA of criminal organization, tax violations and ideological falsity for simulating the transfer of part of the bank's operations to another municipality to evade taxes, Folha de S.Paulo reported. The commission will forward its report to the public prosecutor's office. Itaú has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.


* Banco do Brasil SA will introduce inflation-linked real estate credit lines that will be based on Brazil's IPCA national consumer price index, Reuters reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter. The bank told the newswire it "will announce news on the subject very soon."

* Public offers of shares in Brazil's B3 SA - Brasil Bolsa Balcão stock market moved 78.3 billion reais in the year to November, five times higher than in the same period in 2018, Folha de S.Paulo reported, citing data from the Anbima association of financial markets.

* Brazilian financial start-up Cora, which offers financial services for the expansion of small and medium-sized companies, received US$10 million in funding from the Kaszek and Ribbit venture capital funds, Forbes reported. The funds will be used to attract new clients from February 2020.

* Brazilian Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida said the country's economy could grow at least 2.3% in 2020 and improve its credit score, based on investment forecasts by companies in the country for next year, Folha de S.Paulo reported.


* Moody's placed Bolivia's Ba3 local and foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings under review for downgrade, saying that political risk in the country has surged following Evo Morales' resignation as president. The rating agency said this will likely lead to an economic slowdown that could further increase pressures on fiscal and foreign exchange reserve buffers, potentially weakening the country's credit profile.

* The governments of Peru and the U.S. are close to signing a deal that will stimulate American investments in Peru, Reuters reported, citing Cecilia Galarreta, the director of North American affairs at Peru's foreign ministry.

* The Peruvian central bank lowered its growth forecast for 2019 to 2.5% from 2.7% estimated in September, due to a weaker than expected economic performance, Gestión reported, citing central bank chief Julio Velarde.


* Outgoing Argentine President Mauricio Macri said his economic reforms "did not arrive on time and we were unable to recover from the crisis," Agence France-Presse reported. "I am not satisfied with the growth of the economy in my mandate and with the results of the fight against inflation and poverty," Macri said.

* The Argentine central bank is estimated to close 2019 with net reserves of US$15 billion, El Cronista reported, citing unnamed sources. During a press conference, outgoing central bank chief Guido Sandleris did not confirm the data.

* Banco de la Nación Argentina is studying whether to shut down its branches in neighboring Paraguay and Uruguay, El Cronista reported. Chairman Javier González Fraga said these foreign branches are not anymore aligned with the bank's digital strategy in interacting with importers and exporters.


* The average tax-to-GDP ratio among the members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development stood at 34.3% in 2018, little changed from 34.2% in 2017. Of the 34 countries with available data, Mexico and Chile were at the bottom with tax-to-GDP ratios of 16.1% and 21.1%, respectively, for 2018.

* Carpenter Marsh Fac Re, the combined Latin American facultative reinsurance operations of Marsh LLC, Guy Carpenter & Co. LLC and Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Ltd., appointed Carlos Rivera CEO. Rivera worked as placement leader for Marsh in Latin America and the Caribbean.

* The Chilean peso, Colombian peso and Brazilian real strengthened 3.3%, 1.8% and 0.5%, respectively, in the first four days of December, Bloomberg News reported. All three currencies fell to record lows in November amid violent protests across Latin America.


* Middle East & Africa: Israel outlines open banking rules; Orange Bank's MEA plans; Bankia in Morocco

Pablo Jiménez Arandia contributed to this article.

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