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Brazil unveils more economic measures; court upholds Banesco fine


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Brazil unveils more economic measures; court upholds Banesco fine

* Banco Central do Brasil plans to use excess reserves to control liquidity and boost monetary policy efficiency, Reuters reported, citing comments from the central bank's chief, Ilan Goldfajn. As part of a series of measures to revitalize Brazil's economy, the central bank will work on reducing credit costs for consumers and businesses by improving regulations on payment agreements and making debt collection locations universally accessible. Another key focus is a push to get state-owned banks to trim interest rates while spurring lending competition with private banks, O Estado de S. Paulo reported.

* Venezuela's Supreme Court ordered the freezing of $7.75 million of assets held by Banesco Banco Universal CA corresponding to a fine against the bank for allegedly breaking a municipal contract in the state of Zulia. The top court upheld a 2015 constitutional court ruling enforcing the fine, which had been appealed by the bank. Banesco reportedly said it will pay the full amount of the fine.


* Fitch Ratings affirmed Reaseguradora Patria S.A.B.'s international insurer financial strength rating at A-, while revising the ratings outlook to negative from stable. The outlook revision follows a similar change on the outlook for Mexico's sovereign ratings.

* Mexico's central bank expects traditional banks in the country to start making significant investments in the financial technology sector in order to remain competitive, El Economista reported. Although Mexico's fintech sector is small, with about 158 firms, it is growing fast, the central bank said in its latest report on the financial system.

* CIBanco SA Institución de Banca Múltiple expects Mexico's central bank to hike its benchmark interest rate to above 7% by the end of 2017, El Economista reported. The central bank has increased the rate by 275 basis points over the past year to its current level of 5.75%.

* Sura Investment Management México said Mexico's economic outlook for 2017 remains uncertain and that investors who normally focus on investment funds should diversify their portfolios to include debt and equity, El Economista reported.


* S&P Global Ratings lowered its foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the Bahamas by one notch to BB+/B from BBB-/A-3 and cut the country's transfer and convertibility assessment to BBB- from BBB. The downgrade reflects weaker-than-expected GDP growth and a slow pace of fiscal consolidation.


* Corporate credit demand in Brazil declined 0.5% in November from the prior month and sank 11.4% from a year ago, credit research firm Serasa Experian said. In the aggregate period between January and November, corporate loan demand dropped 2.3% compared to the same period of 2015.

* Brazil's lower house of Congress approved a bill that allows financially troubled states to suspend debt payments, but not before eliminating certain parts of the bill, such as a proposal to force states to raise pension costs for employees, Reuters reported. Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said part of the bill could be vetoed by President Michel Temer.

* Banco Central do Brasil sees Brazil's current account deficit expanding to $28 billion in 2017 from $22 billion in 2016, Reuters reported, citing external data released by the bank. The country received about $8.75 billion in foreign direct investment in November.

* In November, Brazil's government collected about 102.25 billion reais in federal taxes, Reuters reported. In October, tax collection reached 148.70 billion reais due to proceeds from an amnesty program for undeclared assets held abroad.

* Card payment processor Cielo SA said it signed a $297.3 million loan agreement with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Reuters reported. Cielo did not specify the terms of the loan or how it will be used.

* Moody's downgraded CCB Brasil Arrendamento Mercantil SA's long-term global local currency issuer rating to Ba1 from Baa3. The downgrade follows the lowering of the ratings on parent company China Construction Bank (Brasil) SA.

* Brazil's weak fiscal performance and rising debt trajectory will remain the weakest links in its credit profile over the coming years, according to Moody's. Although a recent cap on government spending is a positive development, the rating agency said it expects fiscal consolidation to be very gradual.

* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social's loan disbursements declined 35% year over year to 76.47 billion reais in the first 11 months of 2016, according to data from the state-run development bank. Loan demand dropped 9% during the same period.

* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA CEO Roberto Setubal and Banco Bradesco SA CEO Luiz Carlos Trabuco both praised the economic stimulus measures announced by Brazil's central bank, Valor Econômico reported. Trabuco said the measures will help in building a broad and competitive credit market, while Setubal noted that they will promote greater transparency and efficiency in financial intermediation.


* Venezuela started reopening its border with Colombia following a telephone conversation between the presidents of both countries, Reuters reported. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had earlier said the border would remain closed until Jan. 2, 2017, amid a crackdown on smuggling.

* Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Colombia SA's loan portfolio has grown 8% in 2016 despite Colombia's economic slowdown, while the bank's market share expanded by 20 basis points, La República reported, citing CEO Oscar Cabrera Izquierdo.


* Banco del Estado de Chile opened a branch in the Chilean community of El Carmen, the municipality of El Carmen said in a statement. The new branch is expected to deliver a range of financial services, including for micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

* Banco Central de la República Argentina held its 35-day benchmark interest rate steady at 24.75%. "Considering that monetary policy operates with delays and that the information available confirms the bank is close to meeting its inflation target for the final quarter, this institution focuses on monetary policy that will comply with its inflation target for 2017," the central bank said in a statement.

* Argentine securities commission CNV is implementing a requirement for all investment advisors in the country to pass an exam before they begin working in the market, La Nación reported. It will no longer be enough for advisors to have a university degree.

* The Inter-American Development Bank provided Uruguay with $424 million in financing during 2016, including loans for projects in both the public and private sectors, El País reported.

* Banco Santander Chile said it has called an extraordinary shareholders' meeting Jan. 9, 2017, to decide on a proposal to lower the number of directors on the bank's board to nine from 11. Under the proposal, the bank's current directors would continue in their positions until the next board election.


* Asia-Pacific: Macquarie to get nod for Green Bank buy; Cognizant to acquire Australian insurer

* Europe: French banks sue ECB over capital rules; global banks fined over rate cartels

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Paula Mejia 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.