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Banco Macro seen as favorite in Patagonia race; Brazil to simplify reserve rules


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Banco Macro seen as favorite in Patagonia race; Brazil to simplify reserve rules

* Banco Macro SA is considered the strong favorite to buy Banco do Brasil SA's stake in Argentina-based Banco Patagonia SA, with nonbinding offers due to be submitted starting Feb. 15, El Cronista reported, citing sources in the local banking sector. Other banks are also interested in Patagonia, but Banco Macro is in the strongest financial position to make the purchase, the sources said.

* Banco Central do Brasil said it will simplify reserve requirement regulations in order to lower management expenses for financial institutions without influencing its monetary policy, Reuters reported. The central bank eliminated roughly 15 deduction rules to unify the period of calculation for term, demand and savings deposits. "We are working to create a more positive macroeconomic environment that in time will reduce credit costs," Reinaldo Le Grazie, the central bank's monetary policy director, said.


* Inflation in Mexico reached 4.78% in the 12 months through mid-January, Reuters reported, citing the country's national statistics institute. The figure, which is the highest half-month inflation reading in more than four years, increases the likelihood of another interest rate hike by the central bank in February.

* Canada will prioritize maintaining its own trade links with the U.S. during NAFTA negotiations and might not be able to support Mexico in those talks, Reuters reported, citing Canadian government sources. "We love our Mexican friends. But our national interests come first and the friendship comes second," one source said. "The two are not mutually exclusive."

* Banco Nacional de México SA Integrante del Grupo Financiero Banamex, a unit of New York-based Citigroup Inc., said it has not been affected by a social media campaign encouraging Mexicans to consume local goods and services, El Economista reported.


* BTG Pactual Group in December 2016 launched a digital banking platform targeting high-income clients with 160,000 reais or more, Marcelo Flora, the company's digital banking head, told S&P Global Market Intelligence. With the new platform, BTG hopes to garner 3 million accounts and a 10% market share of Brazil's 650 billion reais high-income digital banking segment within the next three to four years.

* Ronaldo Fleury, Brazil's prosecutor-general for labor, said President Michel Temer's proposed labor reforms are unconstitutional, Reuters reported. "In times of crisis, workers need more protection not less," Fleury said at a press conference. Temer is looking to revamp Brazil's labor laws to permit outsourcing and allow for more flexible contracts and working hours.

* The rate of bounced checks in Brazil increased to 2.36% in 2016 from 2.26% in the previous year, Valor Econômico reported, citing credit research firm Serasa Experian.

* Brazil's central bank posted a current account deficit of about $23.51 billion in 2016, which was covered fully by $78.9 billion in foreign direct investment that the country received, Reuters reported, citing central bank data.

* Four of the largest listed banks in Brazil — Banco do Brasil SA, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Bradesco SA and Banco Santander (Brasil) SA — are expected to post a combined profit of 13.98 billion reais for the fourth quarter of 2016, down 1.4% from the year-ago period, according to a survey of six analysts by Valor Econômico.


* Banco De Desarrollo De América Latina said it placed bonds worth 220.2 million Brazilian reais in the Japanese market. The three-year notes, which were jointly issued with Daiwa Securities, were sold in the Uridashi market to Japanese retail investors.

* Scotiabank Perú SAA CEO Miguel Uccelli said the bank will step up its digital transformation efforts in 2017 and will make more use of financial technology in order to gain a better understanding of its clients, El Comercio reported.

* Eduardo Ferreyros, Peru's minister of foreign commerce and tourism, said Peru will continue to be a strategic partner for the U.S. under Donald Trump's new government, as the two countries have a "win-win" bilateral free trade agreement, La República reported.


* For the eighth straight week, Banco Central de la República Argentina decided to hold its benchmark interest rate at 24.75%. The central bank cited recent data released from the province of San Luis that, in addition to previous data, confirms the disinflation process observed in the second half of 2016.

* Credicorp Ltd. Chairman and CEO Dionisio Romero Paoletti has resigned from his director position at Chile's Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA, according to a filing. Bci's board tapped Hernán Orellana Hurtado to replace Paoletti.

* Argentina recorded a primary fiscal deficit of 359.4 billion Argentine pesos in 2016, compared to a 235.1 billion pesos deficit in the previous year, Reuters reported, citing the Treasury Ministry. The country booked a trade surplus of about $2.13 billion in 2016, compared to a trade deficit of about $2.97 billion in the previous year, the newswire reported separately, citing the government's statistics agency.

* Argentine Finance Minister Nicolás Dujovne is considering eliminating a 1.2% tax on checks and replacing it with a 2% tax on bank cash deposits, El Cronista reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.


* U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to issue orders starting Jan. 25 to institute a temporary prohibition on the entry of most refugees, Reuters reported, citing congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter. The president will also likely order the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, in addition to other measures aimed at reducing the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S.

* Moody's said the overall profile of the rating agency's industry sector outlooks suggests that company growth prospects are stabilizing at moderate levels. However, the picture belies the potential volatility that companies could face in 2017 from geopolitical event risks. Even before facing these potential risks, corporates were dealing with a backdrop of prolonged muted global growth and an uncertain outlook for U.S. interest rates, Moody's noted.

* The total number of potential fallen angels, or companies that have fallen into the so-called crossover zone between investment grade and speculative grade debt, declined in 2016 but remained elevated at the end of the fourth-quarter, Moody's said. This signifies that more companies could be downgraded to speculative grade in 2017.


* Asia-Pacific: China urged to join Trans-Pacific Partnership; AMP shutters venture capital biz

* Middle East & Africa: Kenyan banks face new headache; Aramco seeks IPO advisers

* Europe: Santander posts large profit; Generali surprised by Intesa; Brexit ruling

Matthew Craze 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.