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Banco Agrário recovers Navelena debt; Diviso Grupo to up Edpyme stake

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Banco Agrário recovers Navelena debt; Diviso Grupo to up Edpyme stake

* Banco Agrario de Colombia SA recovered 156.89 billion Colombian pesos in loans granted to the construction consortium Navelena, owned by scandal-plagued Odebrecht SA, in a project to improve navigability at the Magdalena River, amid concerns of a default, La República reported.

* Peru's Diviso Grupo Financiero S.A. has announced the acquisition of 15,847 shares from microfinancing firm Edpyme Alternativa. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, will make Diviso the majority shareholder of the microfinancing company with 99.67% of the shares.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Members of Banco de México's monetary policy committee believe that risks to the country's economic growth have increased amid ongoing tension with NAFTA negotiations and an impending presidential election, minutes from the monetary body's September meeting show.

* The governor of Mexico's central bank, Agustin Carstens, expects that if the NAFTA fails, the country's economy will still be competitive despite a short-lived downturn, Reuters reported. Deputy Governor Javier Guzman noted that the impact of natural disasters on the country's economy is not expected to be significant enough to impact its long-term outlook, the newswire reported separately.

* The southern portion of Mexico was hit with a magnitude 5.4 earthquake on Oct. 13, Reuters reported, citing the U.S. Geological Survey.

* Private banks in Costa Rica have managed to increase the amount of savings within the last five years, as part of a more aggressive strategy, including online banking, El Financiero reported.

BRAZIL

* With lower fees and taxes, the online credit demand offered by smaller credit institutions in Brazil has been growing at an average of 20% per month in 2017, Diário Comercio Indústria e Serviços reported. Compared to the large banks, the rate is up to 80% lower and conditions are more flexible.

* The Brazilian Ministry of Finance expects to appoint the new vice president of the New Development Bank of the BRICS nations composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, within a week, Valor Econômico reported.

* Brazil's Senate is due to vote on a bill that would place certain restrictions on cash transport companies owned by banks, Valor Econômico reported. Foreign-owned companies dominate the cash transport and security industry in Brazil, according to the report.

* Brazil's National Treasury is planning to repurchase all of its January 2019 dollar-denominated bonds worth $1.71 billion to stretch out maturities, Reuters reported.

ANDEAN

* The Scotiabank group announced the creation of a $40 million technology investment fund that will support new startups and financial technology firms in Colombia over the next three years, La República reported. Scotiabank operates in Colombia through Banco Colpatria Multibanca Colpatria SA.

* The EU is working on new sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government over its authoritarian rule, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials as sources. The EU may also adopt a legal act allowing the quick imposition of sanctions on Venezuelan officials in case of further crackdowns on the country's opposition.

* Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's party won 17 states in the country's regional elections, Reuters reported. The country's opposition, which was able to win six governorships, denounced the results and claimed electoral fraud.

* Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the country is expected to sign a debt restructuring agreement with Venezuela at the end of 2017 if the terms are approved by both countries, Bloomberg News reported. The terms of the potential deal were not disclosed, however, Siluanov noted the talks will be regarding debt restructuring and not write-offs.

* Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's new cabinet was approved by Congress on Oct. 13, Reuters reported.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Bank credits in Argentine pesos had a record growth in September, up 4.7% from August, El Cronista reported, citing a report by financial think tank Fundacion Mediterranea. The study also showed that the loans in U.S. dollars are growing slower, with 0.6% month-on-month growth in September.

* Insurance companies in Chile have been pushing for changes to the current limit of investments in funds and credit, Pulso reported. As the Financial Market Commission starts work in December, insurers will seek, among other things, for an increase on the limit of their participation in public funds to 30% from 20%.

* Grupo Financiero Galicia SA's board approved a corporate reorganization which involves the transfer of unit Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires SA's 77% stake in credit card operator Tarjetas Regionales SA to Grupo Financiero Galicia.

* A study from think tank MB Inversiones indicates that Argentine sovereign bonds have the potential of doubling an investment in 12 years, compared to the Latin American average of 17 years, El Cronista reported. Argentina's advantage is its attractive interest rates, considered to be less risky compared to other bonds with equal yield.

* Argentina is preparing for a tax increase in public services to be put in place in December, reflecting the higher inflation trend from the past months, La Nación reported. However, specialists say that consumer prices in October are expected to go down to 1.5%.

* Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires President Juan Curutchet said increased mortgage credit in Argentina reflects economic improvements in the country, La Nación reported. Curutchet also said that in a decade, half a million tenants will become home owners in Argentina, following expectations from a mortgage credit boom.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile are in talks about a plan for setting a collective insurance against earthquakes through the World Bank starting in 2018, Gestión reported.

* An inflation target of 2% may prove unrealistic for some countries and regions, but economists at an Institute of International Finance meeting said they do not expect central banks to raise it any time soon. That consensus has formed despite a global growth rate that has been on a sustained upswing, leaving central banks with the dilemma of needing to normalize rates without causing serious market reactions, the economists said.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: HK drops suit against UBS, StanChart; Australia to conduct banking stress test

* Middle East & Africa: FirstRand tables £1.08B offer for Aldermore; foreign banks eye Saudi expansion

* Europe: Aldermore in M&A talks with FirstRand; Austria set to have new chancellor

Mariana Aldano 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.