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7 banks in hot water for Mexico bond market manipulation; Banco XP gets license


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7 banks in hot water for Mexico bond market manipulation; Banco XP gets license

* Mexican antitrust regulator Cofece has notified seven financial institutions that it has discovered probable evidence of efforts to manipulate government bond prices, sources with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News. Cofece will try the case and could levy fines of up to 10% of a company's annual Mexican revenue if it finds it guilty of bond market manipulation. The report did not name the financial institutions.

* Brazil's central bank granted an operating license to Banco XP, a newly created bank owned by XP Investimentos Corretora de Câmbio Títulos e Valores Mobiliários SA, according to the country's official gazette. Banco XP is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and has a registered share capital of 100 million reais, Valor Economico reported. XP is reportedly eyeing an IPO in the U.S. for the new bank in December.


* Economic growth in Mexico has slowed considerably amid elevated external and domestic risks, the International Monetary Fund warned in a report, adding that the balance of risks is tilted to the downside. The IMF remains concerned about the projected significant compression of spending on goods and services and called for additional measures to help meet the government's fiscal targets.

* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged U.S. lawmakers to ratify the USMCA trade agreement before it is "contaminated" by the U.S. election cycle, Reuters reported. AMLO vowed to implement a recent labor law to alleviate U.S. congressional Democrats' concerns over worker rights.

* Alfonso Romo, Mexico's presidential chief of staff, has urged business leaders to express their optimism about the country's economy to encourage the central bank to lower its benchmark interest rate more quickly, El Financiero reported. He noted that high interest rates in Mexico cut into business margins, appealing to the executives to "create an optimistic climate."


* Nu Pagamentos SA has grown its client base to 15 million, up 25% from August, Reuters reported, citing founder and CEO David Vélez. "We have opened many new business fronts in the last 12 months. We are growing quickly," he said, noting that 10 million clients are also holders of the bank's credit card.

* Banco Inter SA and Uber Technologies Inc. are in discussions to create a financial services partnership, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. is a shareholder in Uber and bought a stake of about 15% in Banco Inter earlier in 2019.

* Andre Laloni, a Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social director responsible for divestments, has resigned from the state-run development bank for personal reasons, Reuters reported. His departure may slow the bank's pace of privatizations and asset sales. Leonardo Cabral will temporarily replace Laloni, the bank said. Meanwhile, three unnamed sources told Valor Econômico that the government is putting on pressure for Laloni to return to the bank.

* Brazilian fintech company Antecipa, which has developed a platform for anticipating receivables for small and medium-sized companies, has secured a $4.5 million investment from venture capital fund Redpoint eventures and angel investors, Valor Econômico reported, citing company founder Camilo Telles. The proceeds will be used to support the firm's growth plans.

* Brazil's government will issue in the coming days a presidential decree aimed at boosting the microcredit market, one of several measures aimed at reducing borrowing costs for individuals and small businesses, Valor Econômico reported.

* Brazilian central bank president, Roberto Campos Neto, said the entity wants to have its instant payment system up and running by the end of 2020, Valor Econômico reported.

* After raising 500 million reais through a share offering in September, Banco Pan SA is working to triple the size of its credit portfolio as it embarks on its first expansion program for eight years, Valor Econômico reported. The bank's market value had risen to 9 billion reais from 2.2 billion at the end of 2018, the report said.

* Brazil's central bank has given approval for the capital of Banco XCMG Brasil to be 100% foreign-owned, Valor Econômico reported. It marked the first such authorization by the monetary authority, which was recently given the authority to decide on the participation of foreign investors in banks. Previously, the country's president decided such matters. The bank will be based in Minas Gerais state, with an initial capital of 60 million reais.


* Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno reached a deal with indigenous leaders to end protests across the country, Reuters reported. The president agreed to replace a decree that cut fuel subsidies with one that does more to support the poor, although it is unclear how soon the decree will be replaced.

* Peruvian personal loan startup Latin Fintech plans to start operating in other Latin American countries, including Mexico and Colombia, and launch a new credit line for small businesses by the end of this year, founders Juan Cabanas and Javier Castro told SEMANAeconómica.

* Bayport Financial Services Colombia, the first Latin American unit of Mauritius-based Bayport Management Ltd., has built a credit portfolio of 800 billion pesos with 60,000 clients, focusing on the borrowing needs of pensioners and public sector workers, CEO Lilián Perea told La República in an interview. The company has granted 300 billion pesos in loans between January and September this year.

* Credicorp Ltd. has launched a new mobile application called Tyba in Colombia allowing individuals to invest up to 100,000 pesos in the stock market, La República reported, citing Valdemaro Mendoza, the platform's CEO.


* Argentine central bank chief Guido Sandleris said the currency controls imposed early in September to sharply reduce dollar purchases had succeeded in shoring up the country's international reserves following their reduction since the Aug. 11 primary elections, Clarín reported. He said the need for central bank intervention in the market to prop up the peso, as well as the withdrawal of bank deposits, had also slowed down.


* Moody's said its liquidity-stress indicator rose to 3.2% in September from 3.0% in August, reversing three months of declines. The indicator rises when corporate liquidity appears to weaken and falls when it appears to improve.

* Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp. plans to invest $500 million in Latin American venture capital funds as part of a previously announced $5 billion investment in the region, Reuters reported, citing Andre Maciel, SoftBank's managing partner in Brazil.

* The Institute of International Finance revised its growth forecast for Latin America's economy to a contraction of 0.1% from a growth of 1.1% in 2019, mainly due to Argentina's poor economic performance, El Cronista reported. The Argentine economy is forecast to shrink 2.9% in 2019.


* Asia-Pacific: China to scrap foreign ownership caps in 2020; Australia to probe big 4 banks

* Middle East & Africa: Standard Bank, Stanlib merge index-tracking arms; Equity Bank taking over loans

* Europe: Barclays execs' 'misleading audit trail'; Deutsche to end Malta relationships

* North America: Facebook's Libra loses backers; California CUs call off proposed merger

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

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