* Fitch Ratings downgraded Chile's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating to A from A+ and revised the country's outlook to stable from negative, while also lowering the ratings on senior unsecured foreign bonds to A from A+. The rating agency said the downgrade reflects Chile's prolonged period of weak economic growth and lower copper prices, although the country's strong governance and credible policy framework have preserved macroeconomic stability, supporting the revised ratings outlook.
* BNDES Participações S.A. registered a profit of 8.5 million reais in the second quarter of 2017, compared with a loss of 1.2 billion reais in the same period last year, Valor Econômico reported.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Fitch Ratings said risks attached to North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations have fallen for Mexico as talks begin and Mexico's access to the U.S. market will unlikely be undermined by an eventual deal. "NAFTA-related uncertainty may still weigh on growth, but some aspects of renegotiation could present medium-term opportunities," the rating agency noted.
* Mexican fintech firms are expecting this week another draft of the fintech bill that will incorporate suggestions from the banking sector, El Economista reported. Fintech Mexico director Jorge Ortiz says the revised bill, which will be sent to Congress in September, may introduce a scaling of requirements for startup companies.
* The multibank capitalization index of some Mexican banks went up to 15.38% in June, a 21-basis-point rise on the 15.18% recorded the previous month, El Economista reported, citing the National Banking and Securities Commission.
* Mexico's inflation levels may reach a record in August due to the rise in purchases of school supplies and increases in food and fuel prices, El Economista reported, citing the Center of Economic Studies of the Private Sector. Inflation may exceed the government's 6% target because of a weaker currency affected by the uncertainty surrounding the renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement, the study also said.
* The CEO of Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA's Mexican division, Francisco Oliveros, says Mexico needs more insurance agents, as only three exist per 10,000 citizens. Oliveros says insurance covers less than 2% of Mexico's GDP.
* Mexican Finance Minister José Antonio Meade Kuribreña named Mario Govea Soria as head of development banks within the Finance and Public Credit Ministry, El Economista reported. Soria replaces Emilio Suárez Licona.
* Republic Financial Holdings Ltd. appointed Farid Antar chief risk officer, replacing Anthony Subero. Antar's appointment will be effective Oct. 1.
* Marcos Peixoto, head of XP Investmentos' asset management unit, expects Brazilian shares to increase 15% in the coming months if the proposed pension reforms are passed by the government, Bloomberg News reported.
* Banco Central do Brasil President Ilan Goldfajn expects the country's economy to start its gradual recovery amid falling interest rates, Reuters reported.
* Minority investors in Brazilian road operator Triunfo plan to sue Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social for utilizing privileged information regarding debt renegotiations, Valor Econômico reported.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social expects the bank's new TJLP long-term interest rate to be set at about 7%, or close to the existing TLP long-term rate, Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços reported, citing Fabio Giambiagi, the bank's superintendent of planning and research. The new interest rates could also cut debt by 100 billion reais, Folha de São Paulo reported separately.
* Brasil Plural SA Banco Múltiplo bought Rio de Janeiro-based energy company Celer for an undisclosed amount, Valor Econômico reported.
* CAIXA Seguridade Participações S.A. said it refuses to extend an exclusivity contract as part of its joint venture with France's CNP Assurances SA, Valor Econômico reported.
* Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social has hired some independent international consultants to help the state development bank reassess its role in the Brazilian economy leading up to 2030, O Globo reported.
* U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened Venezuela with a "military option," sparking outrage from the South American country, Reuters reported. Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said Trump's threat is an "act of madness," Bloomberg News reported. However, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence played down fears of military intervention, saying that "the president also remains confident that working with all of our allies across Latin America we can achieve a peaceable solution," The Wall Street Journal reported separately.
* The Colombian government's attempt to lower interest rates by increasing the frequency of updating the usury rate could potentially restrict bank credit to small businesses and low-income consumers, Leonardo Villar, head of business group Fedesarrollo told La Republica.
* Peru's Banco Agropecuario will open 20 new offices in the Cajamarca region to boost lending to regional farmers, La República reported.
* Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said GDP will grow 2.5% in 2017, less than the projected 4.5% growth, although he predicted the economy will grow 4.5% in 2018, La República reported. However, economists Waldo Mendoza and Hugo Perea said Peru will likely not reduce its budget deficit by 2021 because of a long-term decline in the mining industry, El Comercio reported separately.
* Rigel Seguros de Vida S.A.'s shareholders agreed in an extraordinary meeting to pay an additional dividend of 9,080 Chilean pesos per share on Aug. 22.
* Argentina's Rombo Compañía Financiera SA's alternate director, Alain Gérard Ballu, resigned, according to a securities filing.
* Chilean pension funds, known as AFPs, bought $224.4 million of Chilean equities in July, led by net additions of $129.4 million in retail company Falabella, Diario Financiero reported.
* While the Chilean government expects the passage of a new banking code to align the country with Basel III banking standards before President Michelle Bachelet's term expires in March 2018, "sources close to the President" believe otherwise, Diario Financiero reported.
* Argentina and Mexico are negotiating improvements to an existing trade agreement involving reduced duties, and streamlined technical and health standards for bilateral trade, El Cronista reported. The two countries are expected to announce the changes in Buenos Aires this November.
* Chilean Finance Minister Rodrigo Valdés defended a new pension bill that will be sent to Congress this week, saying the matter cannot be confused with the performance of the wider economy, El Mercurio reported.
* Banco Central de la República Argentina authorized the Bank of New York to open a representative office in the South American country, La Nación reported. The previous government revoked BoNY's banking license in 2014 for being one of the so-called holdouts that did not accept a renegotiation of sovereign debt.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Europe: L&G circles Pru annuity biz; Monte dei Paschi posts loss; Talanx raises guidance
Matthew Craze contributed to this article.
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