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Chile central bank cuts 2017 growth forecast; Temer campaign trial begins

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Chile central bank cuts 2017 growth forecast; Temer campaign trial begins

* Chile's central bank lowered its 2017 GDP growth estimate for the country to between 1% and 1.75% from a previous range of 1% to 2%, citing continued underperformance in the construction and mining sectors, Reuters reported. The central bank also said further changes in its benchmark interest rate will probably not be needed as the bank's "monetary policy has reached an already expansive level."

* Brazil's top electoral court will launch a trial on June 6 into allegations of illegal funding in President Michel Temer's 2014 election campaign, Reuters reported. Temer could be forced from office if he is found guilty, although the court has no deadline for a final verdict and could take weeks to reach a decision.

MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA

* Mexican central bank Gov. Agustin Carstens said recent appreciation of the Mexican peso, a currency he believes to be undervalued, will help offset inflationary pressures, Reuters reported.

* A federal court in Mexico ruled that 617 million Mexican pesos paid by state oil firm Pemex to bankrupt oil services company Oceanografía, in order to repay a loan from Banco Mercantil del Norte SA Institución de Banca Múltiple, cannot be recovered by the bank, Reforma reported.

BRAZIL

* Fitch Ratings withdrew its ratings on Brazilian Finance & Real Estate SA, Brazilian Mortgages Companhia Hipotecaria and Brazilian Securities Companhia de Securitização. All three firms, which are units of Banco Pan SA, have decided to stop participating in Fitch's rating process.

* S&P Global Ratings revised Brazilian stock exchange operator BM&FBOVESPA SA – Bolsa de Valores Mercadorias e Futuros' stand-alone credit profile to "bbb+" from "a-." The rating agency said the company's merger with Cetip SA led to increased leverage, which eroded the firm's financial risk profile despite a planned deleveraging in the next two years.

* Itaú Unibanco Holding SA said it repurchased 12,960,000 preferred shares in May at an average price of 35.51 Brazilian reais per share, resulting in a total cost of about 460.2 million Brazilian reais. The company has repurchased 28,397,900 preferred shares so far in 2017, including the May buybacks.

* Private equity firms in Brazil will likely adopt a more cautious stance in terms of buyout activity and fundraising due to rising political volatility in the country, Reuters reported, citing industry group ABVCAP.

* Brazilian companies are increasingly turning to financial technology firms for basic financial management tools as they seek to reduce costs, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported. Recent downsizing among traditional Brazilian banks, which closed more than 200 branches in 2016, has also helped the local fintech sector grow.

* Caixa Econômica Federal said it saw a net inflow of 1.1 billion Brazilian reais in savings deposits between April and May, reflecting a decline in Brazil's benchmark Selic rate that has made savings more attractive, Valor Econômico reported.

* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social is considering relaxing its rules on investments in mutual funds due to difficult market conditions in Brazil, Valor Econômico reported, citing Eliane Lustosa, the bank's capital markets director. The executive did not provide details on how the rules might be eased.

* Banco Bradesco SA launched a new, fully digital banking platform called Next that will focus on serving younger clients, O Estado de S. Paulo reported. The bank reportedly invested about 120 million Brazilian reais in the new platform.

ANDEAN

* Banco de Crédito del Perú's economic research unit expects Peru's central bank to lower its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 3.75% at a meeting scheduled for June 8, El Comercio reported.

* The overall delinquency ratio for Peru's banking sector stood at 3.06% at the end of April, almost unchanged from the previous month, El Comercio reported, citing local banking association Asbanc.

* The World Bank cut its 2017 GDP growth forecast for Colombia to 2.0% from 2.5%, citing uncertainty surrounding recent government policies as well as risks related to new trade restrictions, El Tiempo reported.

* Colombia-based Banco Falabella SA has started using an artificial intelligence robot to answer customer questions, significantly reducing the average amount of time it takes for the bank to resolve queries, La República reported, citing Hárold Martínez, the lender's innovation and development manager.

SOUTHERN CONE

* DBRS confirmed Argentina's long-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings at B and B (high), respectively, and its short-term foreign and local currency issuer ratings at R-4. The rating agency noted that local authorities are making substantial progress on a reform agenda and the economy seems to have escaped from a recession.

* EVERTEC Inc. said it got U.S. federal bank regulatory approval for the acquisition of EFT Group SA for about 26.92 billion Chilean pesos. Chile-based EFT Group is known commercially as PayGroup, a payment processing and software company that operates throughout Latin America.

* Sociedad de Inversiones Norte Sur S.A. said Pablo Castillo Prado resigned as a director of the company.

* Two factions within Chile's Nueva Mayoria coalition plan to nominate different candidates to run for president in elections due November, and the split could make it easier for former President Sebastian Pinera to ascend back to the presidency, Bloomberg News reported.

* Argentina's central bank announced new and tougher rules for local lenders to prevent money laundering, La Nacion reported. The rules will require banks to segment their clients based on perceived risk and generally be more knowledgeable about client businesses.

* Credit to Argentina's private sector increased 36.62% year over year in May, helped by a 50% rise in personal loans and brisk growth in dollar-denominated corporate financing, El Cronista reported.

* Chile's central bank said new rules requiring banks and labor unions to reach an agreement on the minimum level of services that must be maintained if employees decide to strike should be extended to other financial institutions such as pension fund managers and insurers, Diario Financiero reported. This will help preserve the stability of the country's financial system in the event of a strike, the central bank argued.

PAN LATIN AMERICA

* Colombia saw annual growth of 6.3% in insurance premiums in 2016, while reinsurance premiums grew 15.2%, according to the latest Terra Report published by Terra Brasis Resseguros S.A. In Peru, insurance premium growth reached 5.8% in 2016, while reinsurance premiums in Ecuador declined 5.5% year over year.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Asia-Pacific: JPMorgan eyes fully controlled China venture; ICICI Bank to cut Indian JV stake

* Middle East & Africa: More countries cut ties with Qatar; GFH Financial shelves SHUAA talks

* Europe: More insurers pick post-Brexit EU bases; Banco Popular meeting with ECB

* North America: Trump to nominate former banker as OCC head; 2 Pennsylvania banks merging

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.

Helen Popper contributed to this article.

The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 8 a.m. São Paulo time, and scans news sources published in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Some external links may require a subscription.