* Cyprus may reject bailout plan, reigniting euro zone
* Brazil exporters sell dollars to take advantage of weaker
* Brazil real 0.2 pct stronger, Mexico peso drops 0.2 pct
By Walter Brandimarte
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 19 Latin American
currencies weakened on Tuesday as investors feared Cyprus would
reject the terms of a bailout offered by the European Union,
potentially reviving a debt crisis in the euro zone.
Investors sought dollars and other safer assets as the
Cypriot parliament looked set to repel the bailout plan even as
the government proposed to spare small savers from a divisive
levy on bank deposits.
The Mexican peso, the most liquid Latin American
currency, dropped 0.4 percent but still remained as the best
performing currency in the region with year-to-date gains of
more than 3 percent.
The Chilean peso lost 0.2 percent to close at a
two-week low of 472.70 per dollar.
"The peso was dragged lower by the poor performance of
global markets, with nearly all stock indexes falling, as well
as copper prices," said a trader in Santiago, referring to
Chile's main export product.
In Brazil, however, the real gained 0.2 percent
as exporters stepped into the market to take advantage of a
weaker currency, which had dropped about 2 percent over six
consecutive sessions of losses.
"Exporters and those who have (dollar) loans are taking the
opportunity to close operations in advance," said Mario
Battistel, a currency manager at Fair brokerage in Sao Paulo.
Latin American FX prices at 1800 GMT:
Currencies daily % YTD %
Brazil real 1.9835 0.21 2.85
Mexico peso 12.4400 -0.24 3.41
Chile peso 472.7000 -0.21 1.27
Colombia peso 1811.5000 -0.17 -2.51
Peru sol 2.5940 0.12 -1.66
Argentina peso 5.0950 0.05 -3.58
Argentina peso 8.2300 -1.82 -17.62