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7 Mexican banks maintain SIFI designation; DBRS confirms Mexico

* The seven Mexican banks that were designated as being systemically important in April maintained that designation in a November review, El Economista reported, citing banking and securities commission CNBV. The banks include BBVA Bancomer SA, Banco Nacional de México SA, Banco Santander (México) SA, Banco Mercantil del Norte SA, HSBC México SA, Banco Inbursa SA and Scotiabank Inverlat SA. The banks will be reassessed in terms of their systemic importance in April and November of each year.

* DBRS confirmed Mexico's long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings at BBB (high) and A (low), respectively, and the country's short-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings at R-1 (low). The trend on all ratings is stable. The confirmation reflects the rating agency's view that Mexico's credit fundamentals remain intact despite a lower economic growth outlook and a challenging external environment.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB de CV filed an automatic shelf registration with the U.S. SEC to sell an unspecified amount of contingent convertible securities. The bank might sell the securities, which could be converted to series B shares or American Depository Shares, from time to time in one or more offerings.

* Mexican state housing lender Fovissste said it plans to extend more than 5,000 mortgage loans in 2017 to workers who have already obtained financing from the institution but have cleared their previous dues, El Economista reported.

BRAZIL

* BM&FBOVESPA SA – Bolsa de Valores Mercadorias e Futuros said it concluded a 3 billion reais debentures issuance that will help finance its pending merger with Cetip SA – Mercados Organizados. The debentures, which will mature in December 2019, will yield a floating rate equal to 104.25% of the cumulative average one-day interbank deposit rate.

* Annual loan disbursements from Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social for 2016 will likely hit their lowest level in eight years, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous source at the state-run lender. The development bank's loans are expected to reach between 80 billion and 90 billion reais, the lowest level since 2008, when disbursements totaled 90.8 billion reais.

* Brazilian President Michel Temer will announce a measure on Dec. 22 that enables workers to make an early withdrawal of up to 1,000 reais from their FGTS severance funds, Reuters reported, citing an anonymous government official.

* Analysts believe that Brazil's central bank will be able to accelerate its pace of rate cuts if President Michel Temer's proposed pension reform is approved by Congress, Reuters reported. According to Alessandra Ribeiro, an economist with Tendências Consultoria, every 0.25 percentage point reduction in the central bank's benchmark rate results in a 0.1 percentage point contribution to economic growth.

* Brazil's IPCA-15 consumer price index increased 6.58% in the 12 months through mid-December, down from a 7.64% rise in mid-November, Reuters reported, citing statistics agency IBGE. The ceiling of the government's target for inflation is 6.5%.

* The former chief of Banco do Brasil SA's asset management unit, Carlos Takahashi, will become the head of Instituto Brain, an industry group created six years ago to help position Brazil as an international financial hub, Reuters reported.

* A bill that allows Brazilian states to postpone debt payments owed to the federal government would provide some short-term financial relief to the states, but would not ease their structural challenges, Fitch Ratings said. Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles said the government will still force austerity requirements on states that want federal support despite the bill being watered down by Congress, Reuters reported.

* Brazil's government will give local banks a chance to voluntarily reduce interest rates before it applies a measure to reduce the time in which credit card payments must be processed and delivered to retailers, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles.

* Kinea, an alternative investment platform run by Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, may launch an infrastructure debentures fund in 2017, Reuters reported, citing Kinea CEO Marcio Verri. Infrastructure would be the fourth sector Kinea enters. It already has real estate, multimarket and private equity funds.

* Brazilian antitrust regulator Cade has approved brokerage XP Investimentos' deal to acquire fellow brokerage Rico Corretora, Reuters reported. The agreement was announced earlier in December, but the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ANDEAN

* Mapfre Peru Compania de Seguros y Reaseguros S.A. said its shareholders approved the transfer of the firm's life annuity business, including its entire portfolio of life annuities, to fellow insurer Interseguro Compañía de Seguros SA. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is now pending approval by Peruvian banking and insurance regulator SBS.

* Moody's downgraded Banco de Crédito de Bolivia SA's long-term local currency deposit rating to Ba2 from Ba1 and the bank's adjusted baseline credit assessment to "ba2" from "baa3." The outlook on the local currency rating was changed to stable from negative. The downgrade follows the bank's former parent, Banco de Crédito del Perú, transferring 95.84% of its shares in the lender to a Bolivian holding company.

* BBVA Banco Continental SA's loan portfolio increased 5% in 2016 and the bank aims to double that growth in 2017, El Comercio reported, citing General Manager Eduardo Torres-Llosa. The bank also expects profits in 2017 to rise compared to 2016, although this year's results will likely be similar to 2015.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Banco Macro S.A. said it completed the early redemption of its 9.75% fixed/floating rate noncumulative junior subordinated series 1 notes due 2036. The bank launched an early redemption offer for $150 million worth of the notes in November.

* Argentine securities commission CNV recently approved the creation of two new closed-end funds to be used as part of the government's amnesty program for undeclared assets, El Cronista reported. Sources close to the CNV said the regulator may approve more funds in the next six business days.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Moody's said its liquidity-stress index remained at 6.0% in mid-December and will finish the year with a drop, which is a strong sign that defaults among speculative-grade companies will moderate in 2017.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: India fines foreign banks; China, Iceland extend currency swap deal

* Middle East & Africa: Top Israeli bank set for international exit; Nigeria takes to the Internet

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.