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Mexico, Argentina cut key rates; Brazil central bank hikes GDP growth forecast


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Mexico, Argentina cut key rates; Brazil central bank hikes GDP growth forecast

* The Mexican central bank cut its overnight interbank interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.25% in its fourth interest rate cut of 2019. Banco de México expects sluggish economic activity observed in previous quarters to continue. Growth will also likely be hampered by "significant uncertainty" stemming from the weakened credit outlooks for state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos SA de CV and Mexico's sovereign debt, among other factors.

* Argentina's central bank lowered the benchmark rate on Leliq notes to 58% from 63%, citing changes to the country's political and economic outlook. The monetary authority also said the management of debt sustainability in terms of pesos will probably lead to changes in interest rates.

* The Brazilian central bank raised the 2019 GDP growth forecast to 1.2% from 0.9%, as well as 2020 GDP growth forecast to 2.2% from 1.8%, Reuters reported. The central bank noted though that the hiked forecast is tied to further progress on economic reforms.


* DBRS Morningstar confirmed Mexico's long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings at BBB(high), as well as the short-term issuer ratings at R-1 (low), while changing the trend to negative from stable. The negative trend reflects the rating agency's view that Mexico's medium-term growth outlook has weakened, due mostly to the policies of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

* S&P Global Ratings affirmed Mexico's foreign currency sovereign credit ratings at BBB+ and A-2, as well as the local currency ratings at A- and A-2. S&P's outlook on Mexico remains negative, as it believes there is a possibility of at least one in three of a downgrade to the country over the next 12 months.


* Banco BV, formerly known as Banco Votorantim, has acquired online personal loan platform Just for an undisclosed amount. The platform was created in 2016 by financial management and product curation app Guiabolso, which will continue as a partner at Banco BV.

* Banco Daycoval SA received approximately $425 million in loans from IDB Invest, maturing between two years and four years. The funds will primarily be used for loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises, and to areas undergoing social and economic development, and investments in energy efficiency and gender equality projects.

* Brazil's Cade competition watchdog has approved a new partnership between Caixa Seguridade Participações SA and French insurer CNP Assurances SA, Valor Econômico reported. Under the agreement, announced in September and still needing additional regulatory approvals, CNP and Caixa will hold 51% and 49% of the voting rights respectively.

* Brazilian insurance companies will be allowed to invest in derivatives even if it is not just for portfolio protection purposes, according to new regulations issued by the National Monetary Council due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, Valor Econômico reported. Insurers will also be able to invest in bonds issued by foreign governments, as long as they carry investment grade.

* Brazil's central bank, in its latest quarterly inflation report, raised its outlook for growth in the country's credit stock to 6.9% from 5.7% previously, holding its forecast for next year at 8.1%, Valor Econômico reported.

* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social expects its annual recurring net profit to reach between 6.6 billion and 8.6 billion Brazilian reais by 2022, up from 5.5 billion reais back in 2018. The bank also forecasts its credit portfolio will hold between 421 billion reais and 490 billion reais at the end of 2022, down from 543 billion reais in 2018.


* The International Monetary Fund completed a review of the extended arrangement for Ecuador's extended fund facility. The IMF said authorities "have continued to make progress in strengthening the country's fiscal and external position," giving the country access to another $498.4 million in funds.

* Peru's Finance Ministry cut its 2019 economic growth forecast to 2.2% from recent official forecasts for an expansion of 2.6%, El Comercio reported, citing Finance Minister María Antonieta Alva.

* The Colombian units of Brazil's BTG Pactual Group have completed new procedures, allowing its various businesses to continue to operate under Colombia's regulatory regime, La República reported. BTG became the first international conglomerate operating in the Andean country to secure the authorization from the financial superintendent.

* Colombia's financial superintendent has approved the merger of Créditos y Ahorro Credifinanciera SA Compañía de Financiamiento and Banco ProCredit Colombia SA into the new Banco Credifinanciera, which will have assets of nearly 1.3 trillion Colombian pesos, La República reported. The CEO of the new entity, Carlos Iván Vargas Perdomo, said the bank aimed to focus on providing credit to lower-income segments.


* Argentine statistics agency Indec recorded a currency account deficit of about $1.05 billion in the third quarter, down from $7.44 billion in the year-ago quarter, Reuters reported.

* Paraguay's Banco Rio SAECA has bought insurance firm Asur Seguros for an undisclosed amount, 5días reported, citing Banco Río CEO Oscar Diesel. He said the deal, which aims to strengthen the bank's Nobleza Seguros business, still needed approval by financial and competition regulators.

* MSCI Inc. said it would keep Argentina in its emerging market indices, warning that the country could be excluded next year if recently introduced capital controls aimed at stemming the exit of dollars will limit investor access, Bloomberg News reported.


* Middle East & Africa: MSCI Kuwait status upgrade; PrivatBank sues Israeli bank; Nigeria outlook change

* Europe: BoE holds rate, gets new boss; BBVA sees $1.5B charge; Intesa, Nexi reach deal

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

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