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Gentera to sell remittance payment business; S&P ups Argentina's rating

* Mexico's Gentera SAB de CV said it agreed to sell its family remittances payment business, Pagos Intermex SA De CV, to TransNetwork LLC, which has more than 16 years of experience in processing payments to financial networks and retail chains. The deal is subject to the signing of final documents, which is expected to be completed in early 2020.

* S&P Global Ratings raised Argentina's long-term foreign-currency sovereign credit rating to CC from selective default following the government's successful auctions of peso-denominated debt and its payment of a local bond. The outlook, however, is negative, reflecting downside risks to timely and full payment of debt over the coming months in a stressed economic environment.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* The Mexican central bank said it increased its US dollar reserves by about $5.96 billion in 2019 "mainly due to the change in the valuation of international assets," El Economista reported.

* The overall credit portfolio of commercial banks in Mexico increased 1.6% year over year in November, up from the 0.8% annual growth rate seen in the previous month, El Economista reported, citing data from the CNBV banking and securities commission.

CARIBBEAN

* Canada's Bank of Nova Scotia said it completed the sale of its banking operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to Oriental Bank. The deal is in line with a strategy to focus on operations where Scotiabank "can achieve greater scale and deliver the best value for customers," the bank said.

BRAZIL

* Brazil's government announced that it is raising the country's monthly minimum wage to 1,039 reais, up 4.1% from 998 reais, Reuters reported. The hike was provisionally signed into law by President Jair Bolsonaro on Dec. 31.

* Federal prosecutors in Brazil filed a case against eight members of an alleged criminal group who are suspected of defrauding Caixa Econômica Federal and Banco do Nordeste do Brasil SA for more than 10 million reais, Estadão reported. The defendants include two Banco do Nordeste managers, according to the report.

* BB Seguridade Participações SA said it will reduce its capital by 2.7 billion reais due to certain divestments that followed the renegotiation of the company's partnership with Spanish insurer Mapfre SA, Valor Econômico reported. As part of the process, BB Seguridade will pay 1.35 reais per share to shareholders as capital restitution in April.

ANDEAN

* Peruvian securities regulator SMV has launched sanctioning processes against Banco de Crédito del Perú and Pacífico Compañía de Seguros y Reaseguros SA for not informing the market about political campaign contributions made in 2016, Gestión reported. Both companies are units of Credicorp Ltd, which itself is under investigation over the same issue.

SOUTHERN CONE

* The Argentine peso closed 2019 down 37% against the U.S. dollar, Reuters reported. The year was characterized by heightened fears of a debt default, soaring inflation and an economy in recession.

* The unemployment rate in Chile declined slightly to 6.9% in the period from September to November, Reuters reported, citing the government. Officials previously estimated that protests over social inequality that erupted in October would result in hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Middle East & Africa: Oman Arab Bank plans merger with Alizz Islamic Bank; African bourses to link up

* Europe: China halts LSE stock link; Commerzbank eyes comdirect stake; HSBC bets on ETFs

Pablo Jimenez Arandia contributed to this article.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.