* Argentine central bank chief Miguel Pesce said in an interview with Bloomberg News that he expects the floor for the bank's benchmark interest rate to be cut again in January following two reductions last month. "We will definitely continue with the descending rate path," Pesce said, adding that "high rates didn't have the effect of slowing inflation and they were creating a sharp recessionary effect." The central bank separately announced that it is limiting the amount of short-term Leliq notes local banks can buy per day in an attempt to expedite the fall in rates, El Cronista reported.
* The International Finance Corp. said it provided a subordinated loan of $335 million to Colombia's Banco Davivienda SA to support the financing of women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, social housing and sustainable construction projects.
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA
* Annual inflation in Mexico is expected to have closed 2019 at 2.76%, lower than the central bank's official 3.0% target, according to the median forecast of 10 banks, brokerages and analysts polled by Reuters.
* A magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck a number of Caribbean countries on Jan. 8, including Dominica and the French overseas regions of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the Jamaica Observer reported, citing The University of the West Indies' Seismic Research Centre. No injuries or damages were immediately reported.
* Caixa Econômica Federal is setting up a wholesale business division to sharpen its focus on midsize companies with annual revenues of between 30 million reais and 500 million reais, Valor Econômico reported, citing Eduardo Dacache, the state-run bank's vice president of wholesale banking. As part of the process, the bank has established 59 specialized offices across Brazil.
* Brazil's central bank recorded losses of about 7.64 billion reais from foreign exchange swap operations in 2019 despite posting gains of about 6.93 billion reais in the last month of the year, Valor Econômico reported.
* Citigroup Global Markets Inc. launched a tender offer to purchase for cash any and all of Bancolombia SA's outstanding 5.950% senior notes due 2021. The offer is set to expire Feb. 5 with an early tender deadline of Jan. 22.
* Peru's net international reserves reached a record high of about $68.32 billion at the end of 2019, equivalent to 30% of the country's GDP, El Comercio reported, citing the central bank.
PAN LATIN AMERICA
* Natural catastrophes caused overall losses of $150 billion in 2019, of which $52 billion were insured, according to Munich Re Co. Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas was the strongest hurricane of the Atlantic season, generating overall losses of $5.6 billion and insured losses of $4 billion.
* Rising fiscal pressure in several Latin American countries will weigh on governments' capacity to prepare for shocks and a global slowdown in 2020, according to Fitch Ratings. Argentina and Ecuador are the most vulnerable due to high fiscal deficits and financing pressures, Fitch said, adding that doubts remain around both countries' funding arrangements with the International Monetary Fund.
* The World Bank Group trimmed its global growth forecast for 2019 and 2020 by two percentage points each to 2.4% and 2.5%, respectively, saying that the outlook remains fragile amid persisting headwinds. Regional growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is expected to rise to 1.8% in 2020.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Middle East & Africa: Bank Hapoalim to ax more than 900 jobs by 2022; Mubadala cuts stake in UniCredit
* Europe: Julius Bär faces €335M claim; new ABN Amro CEO; Santander pumps money into unit
Helen Popper contributed to this article.
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