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Caixa, Icatu strike partnership; stable outlook for LatAm banks

* Caixa Seguridade Participações SA signed an agreement with Icatu Seguros SA to create a new company that will operate the premium bonds line in Caixa Econômica Federal's distribution network for 20 years. Caixa Seguridade will have a 75% stake in the new company, with Icatu holding the remaining 25%. At the deal's closing, Icatu will subscribe a capital increase in the new company in the amount of 180.0 million reais.

* Moody's has an overall stable outlook on Latin American banks in 2020, the rating agency said, adding that stability among banks will endure despite pressure from low interest rates and stiffer competition from financial technology firms. However, banks still face risks from the likelihood of further economic slowdown and policy changes in the region.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed its B-/B long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on El Salvador. The outlook is stable, reflecting the rating agency's expectation of moderate economic growth of around 2.5%, along with stable fiscal and external deficits and debt levels over the coming couple of years.

BRAZIL

* Investment bank Banco BTG Pactual SA has opened an office in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of its plans to expand across Europe, InvestmentEurope reported. The new office will reportedly serve clients living in other European countries and will be led by Ricardo Borgerth.

* Banco do Brasil SA said it will no longer charge a custody fee for investments in real estate stocks and exchange-traded funds, Valor Econômico reported.

ANDEAN

* Peruvian Finance Minister Maria Antonieta Alva said she expects the local economy's growth to accelerate to 4.0% in 2020 from 2.2% last year, Reuters reported.

SOUTHERN CONE

* Argentina's Economy Ministry said it exchanged 99.6 billion pesos of Treasury bills in a debt swap auction to ease its repayment burden, Reuters reported. The bills were auctioned to investors holding older instruments on which the government faced repayments of up to around $2.44 billion starting in February.

* Chilean venture capital firm Manutara Ventures is looking to raise $50 million in fresh capital to invest in regional start-ups, Diario Financiero reported. The company's investment focus is on software and biotechnology firms.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* The International Monetary Fund said it now expects global GDP growth to accelerate to 3.3% in 2020 and 3.4% in 2021 from an estimated 2.9% expansion in 2019. The growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 were revised down by 0.1 percentage point each from a previous forecast, while the outlook for 2021 was lowered by 0.2 percentage point, reflecting "negative surprises to economic activity" in some emerging markets.

* Investors around the world deployed a total of $1.39 trillion in foreign direct investments in 2019, down from the $1.41 trillion recorded in 2018, according to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. For 2020, the UN trade body expects global FDI flows to increase "moderately" due to a projected improvement in global economic growth.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: Hana Financial board OKs insurer buy; Nomura's hiring spree

* Middle East & Africa: NBK FY'19 profit up YOY; PE firm seeks controlling stake in Isracard

* Europe: UBS revises targets as FY'19 profit falls; JPMorgan speeds up Brexit plans

Pablo Jimenez Arandia contributed to this article.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.

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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.