July 8, 2020 / 2:12 PM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks edge up; Brazil's real leads FX gains on strong data

    * Chile's peso to gain for third session
    * Brazil's real up 0.9%
    * MSCI Latam stocks index up 1%

    By Ambar Warrick
    July 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's real shot up on Wednesday after
better-than-expected economic data pointed to some recovery in
Latin America's largest economy, while regional stocks edged
higher.
    The real added about 0.9% after data showed retail
sales in the country grew 13.9% in May from the prior month,
more than twice what was expected in a Reuters poll.

    The reading reflected a pickup in economic activity, as the
country steadily relaxed coronavirus-related lockdowns. Still,
Brazil is the second worst stricken country by the pandemic in
terms of the number of infections, behind only the United
States. 
    "We expect retail sales activity to have reached bottom in
April and to stage a gradual recovery in coming months in tandem
with the relaxation of social distancing protocols and other
measures to restrict movement and activity," Goldman Sachs
analysts wrote in a note.
    "However, a still very complex domestic COVID viral picture
could undermine/weaken the pace of the forecasted recovery." 
    
    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the
virus on Tuesday, prompting some weakness in stocks and the
real. On Wednesday, stocks were up about 1.8%.
    Chile's peso rose about 0.7%, extending gains into a
third straight session on continued support from copper prices.
    Concerns over copper supply from Chile, the world's top
producer of the metal, have caused a large jump in prices. A
perceived recovery in Chinese demand has also helped.
    The peso largely shrugged off a drop in June consumer price
inflation, as the coronavirus weighed heavily on individual
spending.
    The country, long hailed as one of Latin America´s most
stable economies, was struck by the pandemic just as it was
recovering from months of unrest over inequality. 
    Chilean stocks were flat.
    Mexico's peso rose slightly versus the dollar.
Petroleos Mexicanos, the country's debt-ridden oil and gas firm,
said on Tuesday it will offer a swap for $22.4 billion worth of
bonds maturing between 2027 and 2060 as it seeks to manage its
massive debt load.
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies:
    
    Stock indexes             Latest     Daily % change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1067.11              1.38
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    1987.37              0.95
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa               99529.33              1.81
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   37978.11              0.37
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    4254.03             -0.09
                                        
 Argentina MerVal                    -                 -
                                        
 Colombia COLCAP               1133.91              0.18
                                        
                                                        
       Currencies             Latest     Daily % change
 Brazil real                    5.3357              0.92
                                        
 Mexico peso                   22.7140              0.56
                                        
 Chile peso                      783.4              0.71
                                        
 Colombia peso                 3618.78              0.16
 Peru sol                       3.5267              0.29
                                        
 Argentina peso                70.9300             -0.07
 (interbank)                            
                                        
 
    

    
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan
Oatis)
  
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