(New throughout, updates prices and market activity)
By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, Sept 9 Most Latin American currencies
and stocks slumped on Thursday, weighed down by concerns over
North Korea's latest nuclear test and hawkish comments by a U.S.
Federal Reserve policymaker.
Traders scurried for the safety of the U.S. dollar at market
open after North Korea announced it had conducted its fifth
The search for safe havens accelerated following a speech by
Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, who said the U.S. central
bank increasingly faces risks if it waits too much longer to
His remarks rekindled expectations that the Fed could
tighten policy soon after a batch of surprisingly weak economic
figures triggered a collapse of bets on a September rate hike.
The Colombian peso weakened 2.65 percent after four
days of gains as prices of crude oil, a key export and source of
tax revenue, fell below $49 per barrel.
The Brazilian real retreated 2.17 percent to the
greenback as traders worried that newly inducted President
Michel Temer could struggle to find support for painful
austerity measures among both voters and lawmakers.
Central bank figures showing strong outflows last week also
fostered concerns that expectations of a flurry of foreign
capital following the impeachment of Temer's predecessor, Dilma
Rousseff, could have been overly optimistic.
Nearly all shares in Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index
fell. Pulpmakers Suzano Papel e Celulose SA
and Fibria Celulose SA were the only gainers, with
the weaker real boosting the export-heavy sector.
Shares in Usinas Siderúrgicas de Minas Gerais
fell 4.7 percent after its board approved the terms of a debt
renegotiation deal with banks and bondholders involving 92
percent of the steelmaker' s total debt.
(Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and