November 12, 2018 / 7:18 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico's Banorte shares slide over 8 pct on proposal to regulate bank fees

(Adds BAML downgrade, quote from research note)

MEXICO CITY, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Shares of Mexican bank Grupo Financiero Banorte dropped more than 8 percent on Monday amid market uncertainty over a bill in Congress that would cut bank commissions.

The value of the bank’s shares had dipped after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded Banorte’s shares to neutral from a previous rating of buy.

“The recent cancellation of the construction of the new airport followed by the (Senate) proposal on Thursday to abolish some bank fees ... have increased uncertainty and led Mexico’s country risk to widen,” the firm said in a research note sent to clients and seen by Reuters.

Shares of Banorte, the bank with the biggest weight in Mexico’s benchmark S&P/BVM IPC index, fell as low as 95.50 pesos in earlier trading on Monday.

Mexican media reported over the weekend that lawmakers from MORENA, the leftist party of President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, are still backing the proposal in the Senate despite concerns within the banking sector.

Lopez Obrador on Friday had signaled he would not support the proposal to limit bank commissions, providing some reassurance to investors after stocks had sunk to their lowest level in more than two and a half years.

Lopez Obrador takes office on Dec. 1.

However, MORENA’s Senate leader Ricardo Monreal told reporters on Monday the initiative to cut fees would continue its path through Congress, and he dismissed the suggestion that Lopez Obrador was attempting to shut down the bill.

“No, we are autonomous. Even if you don’t believe it, there was no consultation or asking of permission from anyone to present initiatives,” Monreal said, before noting that different levels of government were co-operating with each other.

“We won’t ever disassociate ourselves, or split from what is the moral authority of the president,” he added. (Reporting by Sheky Espejo and David Alire Garcia, editing by G Crosse)

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