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Political unrest in Venezuela, Paraguay; Banco del Bajío revives IPO plan

* Following international protests and claims that the move amounted to a coup, Venezuela's Supreme Court has reversed parts of its recent decision to strip the nation's legislature of its powers. The opposition has again called on President Nicolas Maduro to hold fresh elections, the Financial Times reported. "You can't pretend to just normalize the nation after carrying out a 'coup,'" Julio Borges, leader of the legislature, reportedly said.

* Protesters on March 31 set fire to Paraguay's Congress after a majority of senators privately voted in favor of a controversial bill that would allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election after his term ends in 2018. Interior Minister Tadeo Rojas was fired after a protester was killed by a rubber bullet fired by police, Reuters reported. Finance Minister Santiago Pena said the "atypical" unrest would not worry investors and a long-term economic impact was improbable, Bloomberg News reported.

* Mexico's Banco del Bajío SA is again thinking about launching an initial public offering on the local stock exchange in a revival of plans that were originally made in 2014, Bloomberg News reported, citing "people familiar with the matter." The offering might take place as soon as May and could generate between $250 million and $300 million.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Structural flaws will continue to hamper Guatemala's economy and credit rating over the medium term as necessary reforms that would elevate potential growth are not expected to be passed in the near term, Fitch Ratings said. The rating agency expects Guatemala's economy to grow 3.4% in 2017 and 3.7% in 2018, driven by rising investment confidence after the 2015 political crisis.

* Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB de CV and unit Banco Santander (México) SA Institución de Banca Múltiple said Pedro José Moreno Cantalejo resigned from his post as vice president of finance and administration, effective March 31. Moreno will be replaced by several experienced executives who will report to Executive President and CEO He´ctor Grisi Checa.

* Commercial bank financing to Mexico's private sector increased 7.0% in February compared to the same month a year ago, El Economista reported, citing data from the country's central bank.

* Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB de CV said it has completed the sale of Texas-based unit Inter National Bank to a group of investors in the U.S., El Economista reported. Banorte did not specify the deal's price.

* Mexico's Grupo Financiero Ve por Más SA de CV is evaluating a plan to float 30% of its shares on the local stock exchange in 2019 if market conditions are right, El Economista reported, citing Director General Tomás Ehrenberg.

* Rodrigo Jarque Lira, deputy finance chief at Mexican state-run bank Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios Públicos S.N.C, called on the private sector to increase investments in infrastructure projects, noting that the bank nearly doubled its infrastructure lending portfolio between 2012 and 2016, El Economista reported.

* Mexico's government expects the local economy to grow between 1.3% and 2.3% in 2017 with growth accelerating to between 2.0% and 3.0% in 2018, El Economista reported, citing the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.

CARIBBEAN

* Atlas Mara Ltd. reported 2016 attributable net profit of $8.4 million, down from $11.3 million a year earlier. The company booked a $15.4 million loan impairment charge in 2016, compared to the year-ago charge of $12.0 million, largely due to lower recoveries.

BRAZIL

* Brazil's Ministry of Finance said it is establishing a new interest rate as of Jan. 1, 2018, in order to gain macroeconomic stability, reduce subsidies and increase the monetary policy effectiveness of state-run development bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social. The interest rate, named TLP, will be aligned with the National Treasury's inflation-linked bonds and will be calculated on a monthly basis instead of a quarterly basis.

* Brazilian President Michel Temer signed a controversial bill into law enabling local firms to outsource jobs, Reuters reported. The bill, which was recently approved by Congress, drew fierce opposition from unions.

* Brazil's National Monetary Council, the CMN, has raised the limit for nonguaranteed loans to states and municipalities that have a good payment history by 4 billion reais, Folha de S. Paulo reported. The ruling means financial institutions can lend the additional amount without seeking prior authorization from the CMN.

* Brazil's government issued a decree raising the IOF financial transactions tax on operations by credit unions to up to 3.38% from 0.38%, Valor Econômico reported. The decree equalizes the IOF tax on credit unions at the same level that is charged to banks.

* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social said it does not expect the Brazilian government's recent decision to establish a new long-term interest rate named TLP to impact the pace of borrowing from the development bank, Reuters reported.

* Brazil's capital market surpassed state-run development bank Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social in terms of corporate financing volumes in 2016 for the first time in a decade, Valor Econômico reported.

ANDEAN

* Former Ecuadorian Vice President Lenin Moreno has claimed victory in the country's presidential election on April 2, although conservative rival candidate and former banker Guillermo Lasso has demanded a vote recount, Reuters reported. Ecuador's electoral council has not declared a winner, but said Moreno had garnered 51.1% of the votes compared to Lasso's 48.9% with more than 96% of the votes tallied.

* Flooding and landslides in Colombia on April 1 killed 254 people, injured hundreds and resulted in heavy damage to neighborhoods, Reuters reported. President Juan Manuel Santos said climate change was responsible for the catastrophe.

* Peruvian Transportation Minister Martin Vizcarra said the country requires additional international aid to support hundreds of thousands of people who have been affected by ongoing floods and mudslides that have killed more than 100 people and destroyed a lot of the country's infrastructure, Reuters reported.

* Credicorp Ltd. said Peruvian insurance unit El Pacífico Peruano Suiza Compañía de Seguros y Reaseguros SA could suffer losses of between $4 million and $6 million due to severe flooding related to the El Niño weather phenomenon, El Comercio reported.

* Peru's Crecer Seguros SA, which started operations in late 2015 to sell insurance products through affiliates of Ecuador's Grupo Pichincha, is in the process of diversifying its sales channels and hopes to increase its revenues to at least 80 million Peruvian soles by 2020, SEMANAeconómica reported, citing CEO Marcel Fort.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentine brokerage Puente Hnos SA is thinking about offering shares of its U.K. holding company in Buenos Aires before the close of 2017, and is also evaluating an initial public offering in New York or London, Bloomberg News reported, citing Federico Tomasevich, Puente's global chairman.

* The ABPU, Uruguay's association of private banks, warned that a bill to regulate credit card commissions that is currently being studied by parliament could violate the constitution as any legislation related to tax exemptions, minimum wages, or the purchase price for products and goods must come from the executive branch, El Observador reported.

* Sociedad Anónima Importadora y Exportadora de la Patagonia has accepted an offer to buy Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires SA's entire stake in Tarjetas del Mar SA, equivalent to 58.8% of the total shares of Tarjetas del Mar. Compañía Financiera Argentina SA also made an offer to sell its entire stake in Tarjetas del Mar representing 1.2% of the firm's total shares to engineer Federico Braun. The total price reached $5.0 million.

* Banco Santander Río SA said it has completed its acquisition of the assets and liabilities of Citibank Argentina's retail banking operations. The deal involves assets totaling $1.4 billion, according to a previous statement announcing the agreement. The deal price was not disclosed.

* Grupo Supervielle SA said the company and unit Banco Supervielle SA transferred their entire shares in Cordial Microfinanzas SA to Ciudad Microempresas SA under an agreement reached in March. The total price for the deal was 46.5 million Argentine pesos.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* The Inter-American Development Bank secured $317 million in fresh capital during a meeting in Paraguay, with more than 55% of the total amount being pledged by Latin American countries, La Nación reported.

* Moody's said its outlook for sovereign creditworthiness in Latin America and the Caribbean is negative overall. The negative assessment relates primarily to sovereigns in South America and Mexico, while Central America and the Caribbean benefit from a low oil price environment. The key drivers of the negative outlook are low growth and deteriorating fiscal metrics.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Middle East & Africa: Gulf banks close merger; Fitch warns of SA review; Togo banks to merge

* Europe: Deutsche Bank fined again; Credit Suisse in client tax probe; Novo Banco sold

Helen Popper 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.