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VENEZUELA: Neighboring Countries Dismiss Constituent Assembly Election

Several countries in the Americas dismissed the vote held Sunday in Venezuela to elect a National Constituent Assembly, promoted by President Nicol?s Maduro to modify the country’s constitution.

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia issued official statements saying that the results would not be recognized. The United States, Canada, and the European Union also criticized the Venezuelan government for holding the vote.

“That Constituent Assembly has a spurious origin, and therefore we will not be able to recognize its results,” said the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

“The election does not respect the will of more than seven million Venezuelan citizens who voted against it. Argentina will not recognize the results of that illegal election,” said the Argentinean Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The Peruvian government said that “this vote violates the Venezuelan Constitution and contravenes the sovereign will of the people, represented in the National Assembly,” while condemning “violent repression.”

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the country “does not recognize the voting results.”

For the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, the election of the National Constituent Assembly “violates the principle of popular sovereignty and confirms the rupture of the constitutional order in Venezuela.” Chile expressed “deep disappointment” at the Venezuelan government decision to hold the elections.

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ITA? UNIBANCO: Profit Should Rise 7.6% In The Second Quarter – Analysts

Ita? Unibanco’s recurring net income should grow 7.6% in the second quarter from a year before, to R$ 5.94 billion, in a moment of pressured financial margins and weak demand for credit, according to an average of analysts estimates. The bank will release its results today after the market close in Brazil.

“Overall, the trend for asset quality improvement should remain encouraging, but the full impact of lower interest rates on credit cards and the overall weakness of credit growth should hurt net interest margin,” said JP Morgan analyst Domingos Falavina. He forecasts that the bank’s net financial margin fell by 2.6%.

Banco do Brasil Investimentos (BB-BI) foresees that Ita? Unibanco’s net interest income will fall by 3.2% in the second quarter.

According to Tito Labarta, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, Ita?’s profitability, calculated by the return on equity, will remain close to 20%.

UBS sees Ita? Unibanco’s loan portfolio retracting by 1.4% in the second quarter compared to the same period in 2016, BB-BI projects a 3.4% drop in this indicator, while Deutsche Bank sees a 4% decrease.

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VENEZUELA: European Union Criticizes Constituent Assembly Election

The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU), criticized the Constituent Assembly vote held yesterday by Venezuela and suggested that it will not recognize its results.

“A Constituent Assembly elected under dubious and often violent circumstances can not be part of the solution,” said the European Commission in a statement released today and read by the deputy spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.

“The Commission has serious doubts as to whether the outcome can be recognized. The High Representative is working on a response.”

Protests marked the weekend in Venezuela, as the opposition to Nicol?s Maduro government marched against the election of the Constituent Assembly in the country. Demonstrations turned violent in some regions, and more than a dozen people died, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS).

“The European Union condemns the excessive and disproportionate use of force by security forces,” the European Commission said in the statement. “The government of Venezuela has a responsibility to guarantee the rule of law and people’s fundamental rights, such as to freedom of expression and peaceful protest.”

According to the Electoral Commission, more than 8 million people participated in yesterday’s vote, which would represent 41% of the country’s voters. The opposition boycotted the vote fearing that the new assembly could dissolve the opposition-controlled Congress or postpone general elections.

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BRAZIL: Market Shows Appetite For IPOs, Says B3 CEO Finkelsztain

The fact that the most recent Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Brazil drew attention from the ten largest institutional investors shows that there is a market appetite for this kind of operation and leaves B3 optimist about the next listings, said Gilson Finkelsztain, the chief-executive of B3.

“If we have stabilization in Brazil, we can see more offers during the year,” he said, adding that the economy is growing slowly, but growing, nonetheless.

Finkelsztain also said that if there are no shocks until the 2018 elections, the demand for IPOs and other similar transactions will remain high.

“The big banks have about ten stock transactions in the pipeline. We should enter an off-season period at the moment, but soon we will see more operations,” he said.

The IPO activity in the Brazilian stock exchange improved in 2017 compared to previous years, but analysts believe that total listings will likely be far less than the 20 to 25 operations expected at the start of the year. So far, less than ten companies completed their IPOs.

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Australia Rate Decision On Tap For Tuesday

The Reserve Bank of Australia will wrap up its monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and then announce its decision on interest rates, highlighting a busy day for Asia-Pacific economic activity.

The RBA is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 1.50 percent.

The RBA also will release its commodity price index numbers for July; in June, the index surged 25.0 percent on year to a score of 119.5.

Australia also will see July results for the AiG Performance of Manufacturing Index; in June, the index score was 55.0.

China will release July results for the manufacturing PMI from Caixin, with forecasts expecting the score to hold steady at 50.4.

Japan will see final July figures for the manufacturing PMI from Nikkei; the previous reading was 52.2.

A number of other regional countries also will see July results for their respective manufacturing PMIs from Nikkei, including Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

South Korea will release July figures for consumer prices, imports, exports and trade balance.

Consumer prices were down 0.1 percent on month and up 1.9 percent on year in June, while core CPI added 0.3 percent on month and 1.4 percent on year.

Imports are expected to rise 15.0 percent on year after climbing 18.0 percent in June. Exports are called higher by 15.9 percent after advancing 13.7 percent in the previous month. The trade surplus is pegged at $8.68 billion, down from $11.403 billion a month earlier.

Indonesia will provide July numbers for consumer prices. In June, overall inflation added 0.69 percent on month and 4.37 percent on year, while core CPI gained 0.26 percent on month and 3.13 percent on year.

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MEXICO: Second Quarter GDP Grows 1.8%, Lowest Annual Rate Since 2014

Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 1.8% during the second quarter of 2017 over the same period in 2016 – the lowest growth rate since the same quarter in 2014 – according to a preliminary estimate released by the country’s statistics institute.

The quarterly assessment indicates a slowdown in economic growth compared to the first quarter of this year when Mexico’s GDP increased by 2.8% in real terms compared to a year before.

GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017 was a result of an increase in the services sector (+3.2%) and the primary sector activity (+0.7%). The figure was impacted by a 1.0% decrease in the manufacturing output.

In seasonally-adjusted terms, the Mexican GDP grew by 3% in the second quarter compared to the previous year and 0.6% from the first quarter of 2017.

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BRAZIL: Economists Raise 2017 Inflation Forecast Again, To 3.40%

The median forecast for Brazil’s consumer price inflation in 2017 rose for the second week in a row, to 3.40%, from 3.33% last week, according to economists surveyed by the central bank. For 2018, the median forecast remained at 4.20% for the second consecutive week.

For the next 12 months, estimates for the annual inflation increased to 4.52%, from 4.40% last week.

Brazil annual inflation is currently below the central bank’s target of 4.5%. The most recent data shows that in June the annual inflation slowed to 3.00%, from 3.60% in May. It was the lowest inflation rate for the 12-month period since April 2007.

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COLOMBIA: Minister Files US$78.8 Billion Budget For The 2018 Fiscal Year

Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio C?rdenas filed the National Budget Bill asking for 235.6 trillion Colombian pesos (US$ 78.8 billion) for the 2018 fiscal year, a 1.0% increase compared to the current budget. It will be the last budget executed by the Juan Manuel Santos’ government before the end of its term.

According to the minister, the new budget meets the goal of reducing the fiscal deficit from 3.6% in 2017 to 3.1% in 2018. Carden?s said that it is imperative to meet fiscal targets and consolidate Colombia’s ‘BBB’ credit rating, and that’s why it will keep austerity.

“Public spending should be boosted with the participation of the private sector in the provision of public goods and services that, as in previous years,will be responsible for promoting the country’s economic activity,” said the minister.

The budget bill asks 38.6 trillion Colombian pesos (US$ 12.9 billion) for personnel and general expenses, and 108.5 trillion pesos (US$ 36.3 billion) for mandatory spending.

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VENEZUELA: Country Set To Rewrite Constitution Despite Opposition Boycott

The Venezuelan government will install a Constituent Assembly elected Sunday to rewrite the country’s constitution despite a massive boycott to the polls by the opposition.

More than eight million Venezuelans took part in Sunday’s National Constituent Assembly (ANC) vote, convened by the Nicol?s Maduro’s government. Voters’ participation reached around 41% of more than 19 million Venezuelans able to vote, said the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena.

The election day was also marred by violence, with more than a dozen dead.

In the vote, 545 representatives were elected to the Constituent Assembly, which will start working within 72 hours after the proclamation of the elected deputies, according to the Venezuelan News Agency.

“The balance is highly positive because peace won, Venezuela won. Despite the violence, despite the threats, Venezuelans were able to express themselves,” said Lucena while announcing the vote first figures.

In the Venezuelan streets, however, the electoral process was marked by opposition protests that extended throughout the weekend and resulted in the death of 16 people, according to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS).

The country’s public prosecutor’s office said that it would investigate the violence. Also, 96 people were detained in various parts of the country.

The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) said that there were demonstrations in 22 states in the country. According to OVCS, only in two states there were no violent acts or anti-government protests.

The Venezuelan opposition said that it would march today against the violence reported during the demonstrations. Freddy Guevara, the first vice-president of the National Assembly (controlled by the opposition), urged citizens to protest today and attend a rally in Caracas.

More than ten countries of the region, among them Argentina, Colombia, and Peru, said that would not recognize the electoral results. The United States and the European Union called the vote “illegal.”

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BRAZIL: Economists Keep Estimates For 2017 GDP Unchanged At 0.34%

Economists surveyed by the Brazilian central bank kept unchanged their forecasts for economic growth in 2017 at 0.34% for the third week in a row, down from 0.39% four weeks ago. For 2018, the median forecast for GDP growth remained at 2.00% for the fourth week.

Projections for Brazil’s debt-to-GDP ratio in 2017 were revised down, to 51.50%, from 51.70% last week, while for 2018 forecasts were raised to 55.15%, from 55.10% last week.

Projections for the Brazilian industrial output growth in 2017 remained at 0.83% for the second week. For 2018, economists estimates fell to 2.22%, from 2.26% last week.

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