* São Paulo-based Banco Citibank SA is looking to grow its loan portfolio, which currently stands at US$13 billion, by between 7% and 9% in 2019, O Estado de S.Paulo reported, citing Marcelo Marangon, Citi's country head for Brazil. The bank also aims to increase its participation in structuring debt and equity issuances.
* Banco Macro SA said it repurchased 711,386 class B common shares at an average weighted price of 138.255 Argentine pesos per share, resulting in an aggregate amount of about 98.4 million pesos.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Sura Asset Management SA has set up a new entity in Mexico called Caja de Ahorro SURA para Empleados Asociación Civil. The new company will manage the savings of all employees of SURA Asset Management México SA de CV as well as those of its subsidiaries and affiliates.
* Brazil's central bank tapped Carlos Viana de Carvalho, who currently leads economic policy and corporate risk management, to serve as a member of its monetary policy board, Valor Econômico reported. The central bank's current director of international affairs, Tiago Couto Berriel, will take over as head of economic policy and corporate risk management.
* Banco Agibank SA approved a request to cancel its registration as a publicly held company with Brazilian regulator CVM. The bank postponed a planned initial public offering in June due to weak demand, before withdrawing its IPO registration altogether in September.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social said it approved 7.6 billion reais in financing for energy projects across several Brazilian states, Agência Brasil reported.
* Banco de Inversión y Comercio Exterior SA issued $30 million worth of sustainability bonds and will use the proceeds to finance high-impact social and environmental projects.The $30 million batch is the first of a series of issuances through which the bank aims to raise more than $300 million.
* Chile's central bank modified its rules to allow international payment card brands more flexibility in associating and doing business with local card payment operators, Diario Financiero and La Tercera reported.
* A total of 103 Uruguayan companies have entered bankruptcy so far in 2018, down 12% compared to 2017, El País reported, citing data from local association Lideco.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* The Brazilian real and the Chilean peso fell against the U.S. dollar on Dec. 26, accompanied by a decline in Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index, Reuters reported. The movement came amid concerns of political uncertainty in the U.S. and decelerating growth across the globe.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Middle East & Africa: NCB, Riyad Bank in merger talks; Rwanda ups capital requirements for banks
* Europe: BBVA selling €1.49B of bad loans; Visa to acquire UK's Earthport
Pablo Jimenez Arandia contributed to this article.
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