* Financial services company XP Investimentos is preparing to sue BTG Pactual Group for allegedly breaking a confidentiality agreement signed by the investment bank in 2016 when it was hired to manage XP's initial public offering, Valor Econômico reported. The newspaper said XP suspected BTG of having used confidential information accessed at the time to create the BTG Pactual Digital investment platform.
* Banco Central de Reserva del Perú maintained the benchmark interest rate at 2.75%, saying inflation and its indicators were within expected levels for the month of November. Inflation was recorded at 0.12% in November, bringing annual inflation to 2.2%.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* The lower house of the Mexican Congress unanimously voted to confirm Carlos Urzúa as finance minister for the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, El Economista reported. Congressmen also unanimously confirmed Arturo Herrera as deputy finance minister and Gabriel Yorio González as head of the public credit unit of the ministry.
* Outgoing Grupo Financiero Scotiabank Inverlat SA de CV CEO Enrique Zorrilla said he would run as president of the ABM banking industry association from next year, replacing Banco Santander (México) SA Institución de Banca Múltiple Chairman Marcos Martínez Gavica in the role, El Economista reported. Luis Niño de Rivera, vice president at Banco Azteca SA Institución de Banca Múltiple is another possible candidate.
* Outgoing Banco de México Deputy Governor Manuel Ramos Francia has been elected director general of the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, effective Jan. 1, 2019, replacing Fernando Tenjo Galarza, El Economista reported.
* Guatemala-based Banco Industrial SA received on Dec. 13 $350 million in financing from various international sources including Wells Fargo Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to fund lending to small and medium-sized companies and for housing, Prensa Libre reported.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social President Dyogo Oliveira said the bank will resume investing in shares of Brazilian companies through investment arm BNDES Participações SA - BNDESPAR, after it suspended the practice in 2015 due to losses or irregularities on certain investments, Folha De S.Paulo reported. However, BNDES will now only be allowed to invest in medium-sized companies with annual revenues between 90 million reais and 1 billion reais, with a 30% investment limit in each of the companies' capital stock.
* Francisco Basílio will become Banco do Brasil SA's vice president of agribusiness, Valor Econômico reported, citing the bank's incoming president, Rubem Novaes.
* Lucianna Lorenzo was appointed head of debt capital markets for Brazil at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Reuters reported, citing an internal statement.
* Caixa Econômica Federal refuted comments by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who said the state-run bank had spent 2.5 billion reais on marketing activities this year, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported. The bank said it had a budget of 685 million reais for marketing-related activities in 2018.
* The sale of Caixa Econômica Federal's stakes in five subsidiaries including Caixa Seguridade Participações SA, Caixa Cartões, and Caixa Lote could raise 60 billion reais in four years, according to an estimate by members of the economic team of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, Valor Econômico reported.
* Brazilian investment fund administrators captured 64.2 billion reais in resources in the first 11 months of the year, down compared to the annual average of 83.8 billion reais over the last four years, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing the Anbima industry group.
* Brazil's incoming government has nominated two new central bank directors: Itaú Unibanco Holding SA economist Bruno Serra Fernandes as director for monetary policy and Finance Ministry secretary João Manoel Pinho de Mello for financial system organization, Valor Econômico reported.
* Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA unit AFP Integra won the fourth affiliate bidding by the Peruvian Private Pension System and will succeed Prima AFP SA as exclusive affiliate for incoming workers into the system, Gestión reported. The contract will run between June 2019 and June 2021. Over this period, about 700,000 new contributors will be affiliated into the system.
* Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said in a Twitter post that he secured a $900 million loan from China at an undisclosed rate, Reuters reported. He added he received a $69.3 million loan at a rate of 2%, and a $30 million loan in "non-refundable" assistance.
* Colombian fintech Zinobe, which grants microfinance loans through its Lineru platform, plans to launch products aimed at microentrepreneurs next year, the company's director, Hector Aponte, told La República. He said the company had tripled credit placements in 2018 compared with the previous year and expects to place up to 1.2 million loans in 2019 as strong growth continues.
* Argentine statistics agency Indec recorded consumer price inflation of 3.2% for November, Reuters reported. Inflation for 2018 up through November has reached 43.9%.
* Paraguayan Finance Minister Benigno López said state-run Banco Nacional de Fomento would not be affected by the migration of public funds to private banks, a measure that economists say could boost competition in the credit market, 5días reported.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* The outlook for Latin America in 2019 will be challenged by tighter external financing conditions, a weak economic recovery, and fiscal, political and governing risks, according to Fitch Ratings. On the other hand, most companies in the region have strong balance sheets as they have cut back on capital expenditures or dividends and sold off non-core assets, Fitch Managing Director Joe Bormann commented.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Asia-Pacific: India mulls injecting more capital to public banks; Philippines holds rates
* Middle East & Africa: Saudi Arabia said to be secretly buying stocks; Mozambique cuts rate
* Europe: Basel targets banks inflating leverage ratios; Sabadell selling Solvia to Intrum
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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