* Caixa Econômica Federal confirmed it is looking for a partner in the card payment market and is seeking expressions of interest in a 20-year joint venture until Aug. 12, O Estado de S. Paulo reported. Caixa is the only major Brazilian bank that does not have a payment means unit and currently works with Itaú Unibanco's Redecard SA unit, among others, the publication said.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social said it would make another early repayment of 40 billion reais to the Brazilian Treasury, O Estado de S. Paulo reported. The Brazilian state-run bank is supposed to return 126 billion reais to the Treasury by the end of the year.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Prosecutors in the U.S. have accused Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández of colluding with his brother and other top politicians to protect drug traffickers, adding his 2013 presidential candidacy was funded by drug money, The Wall Street Journal reported.
* Moody's warned that the Mexican government's plan to use development banks to stimulate the economy is credit negative for the banks due to possible asset risks, as they will become more exposed to companies and sectors that are most vulnerable to the country's economic slowdown.
* Credit union Caja Popular Mexicana expects to launch its credit card service by 2020 and boost its customer base to 3.8 million by 2022 through new digital products and services, El Financiero reported, citing the entity's deputy commercial director, Alfonso García Moreno.
* The Brazilian central bank's decision on July 31 to cut the Selic rate to 6.00% will benefit nonfinancial companies across various sectors, which are now more likely to access funding without bank intermediation, Moody's said in a report. As the Selic rate is expected to continue to drop to 5.5%, the rating agency expects the fiscal consolidation efforts aimed at stabilizing the debt burden will be alleviated.
* Caixa Econômica Federal CEO Pedro Guimarães said the withdrawals from the FGTS workers' severance fund and PIS-Pasep employee funds would have an impact of about 300 million reais in annual revenues for the bank, O Estado de S. Paulo reported. Meanwhile, Caixa, which manages the resources, said the timetable for the withdrawals was due to be announced today but that FGTS operations should start in September, Folha de S. Paulo reported.
* Caixa Econômica Federal's decision to cut interest rates late in July was a strategic move and not the result of political pressure, Valor Econômico reported, citing a senior source at the state-run bank. Separately, the state-run bank had suddenly stepped up loan disbursements to the poorer Northeast last week after newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo questioned a drop in operations in the region this year.
* Brazilian investment banks saw reduced revenue in the first seven months of the year due to a decline in M&A activity, Valor Econômico reported. According to the Dealogic consulting firm, banks received 1.96 billion reais in commissions for M&A, debt, financing and stock offerings, down 4.9% year-over-year despite increased share issuances during the period.
* Andbank, a private banking institution linked to Andorra, has signed a partnership deal with independent investment fund distributor Capital Investimentos, Valor Econômico reported. The deal increases Andbank's assets under management to 8 billion reais, making it a key step in the bank's efforts to reach 12 billion reais by 2020.
* Banco BBVA Perú will auction up to 120 million Peruvian soles worth of three-year bonds — maturing in 2022 — under a US$1.00 billion corporate bond program. The initial amount is set at 70 million soles, expandable up to 120 million soles.
* Colombia's central bank expects the country's current account deficit will grow to 4.4% of GDP this year, from 3.9% recorded in 2018, Reuters reported, citing the central bank's report to Congress. The regulator cited a combination of higher imports and lower exports of coal and other commodities, and otherwise weak performance of the country's trading partners.
* U.S. online payment company PayPal is looking for more alliances in Colombia as it seeks to build on the inroads it has made in the local market via partnerships with two banks, La República reported, citing Federico Gómez Schumacher, the company's director for Brazil and Mexico.
* Chile central bank board member Pablo Garcia voted to lower the benchmark rate by 25 basis points during their July meeting as the rate cut back in June was inadequate, according to minutes published by the monetary authority. He said "activity and demand indicators showed less-than-expected growth for the next few quarters." Policymakers ultimately decided to maintain the rate at 2.5%.
* Analysts surveyed by the Argentine central bank expect the local currency to weaken to 50 pesos per dollar by the end of the year, with inflation reaching 40%, El Cronista reported. The inflation forecast for this year was unchanged though their forecast for 2020 rose 1 percentage point.
* Paraguay's Finance Ministry bought 200 billion guaranies in four-year bonds issued by Agencia Financiera de Desarrollo (AFD) at a rate of 6.3%, La Nación reported. The bonds were purchased on behalf of the state pensions agency.
* Representatives of Chile's Focus Capital have asked for authorization from the CMF financial market regulator to establish a fund management company, Diario Financiero reported.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* The growth of non-life premiums in Latin America will continue to recover in the next five years, El Economista reported, citing Swiss Re Institute's report on the car insurance market. It forecast the strongest growth in Colombia and Mexico. Brazilian growth would likely be hit by an average 63.3% cut in mandatory insurance premium rates in 2019 while Argentina's market would be limited by high inflation and restricted credit.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Middle East & Africa: ADFG completes merger with Shuaa; S&P revises outlook on DR Congo
* Europe: HSBC CEO resigns; ReAssure, Quilter reach £425M deal; UBI Q2 profit down 46.6%
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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