March 29, 2019 / 2:52 PM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks eye best quarter since Q3 2017

    By Agamoni Ghosh
    March 29 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks rose on Friday,
on course to post their best quarter since the third quarter of
2017 as optimism over U.S-China trade talks boosted risk
appetite, while a softer dollar helped prop up currencies in the
region. 
    MSCI's index of Latin American stocks rose
2.3 percent, with shares on the Bovespa leading gains. 
    Sao Paulo-traded stocks rose 1.4 percent in
broad-based gains with investors keeping a close watch on
developments related to the pension reform.
    Brazil's president, economy minister and speaker of the
lower house of Congress patched things up publicly on Thursday,
trying to move past days of finger pointing to focus on passing
a thorny pension reform to save the country's public finances.

    JBS SA climbed about 4 percent after the meat
processing company announced a stronger outlook for 2019 despite
 posting fourth-quarter results that missed analysts' estimates.

    Shares of Embraer rose nearly 1 percent after
Brazil's navy selected the domestic aircraft maker, along with
German industrial conglomerate Thyssenkrupp, to build
four corvettes.    
    The real rose 0.3 percent. Data showed on Friday that
Brazil posted a budget deficit in February of 14.931 billion
reais ($3.82 billion) before interest payments, 14 percent
smaller than a year earlier.
    Mexican stocks were on track to post their third
consecutive week of gains while the peso slid more than 1
percent through the week.   
    Banxico (The Central Bank of Mexico) held its benchmark
interest rate steady on Thursday, flagging economic uncertainty
and risks surrounding the credit ratings of both state oil
company Pemex and the government.
    The government has said it will consider using part of a
$15.4 billion public income stabilization fund to pay some debt
obligations for heavily leveraged state oil company Pemex.
    Investors see such frequent capital injections for Pemex
from the government's coffers as a temporary fix and believe it
is not going to solve the problem for the company, which holds
nearly $106 billion in financial debt.     
    Chile's peso rose 0.6 percent, tracking a gain in the
price of copper, the country's main export,,
while stocks on the IPSA index were on course to
end the quarter on a strong note.     

 Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1445 GMT
    
 Stock indexes                        daily %
                             Latest    change
 MSCI Emerging Markets       1057.26     1.15
                                      
 MSCI LatAm                  2749.54     2.35
                                      
 Brazil Bovespa             95646.10     1.33
                                      
 Mexico IPC                 43146.38     0.48
                                      
 Chile IPSA                  5225.98     0.23
                                      
 Argentina MerVal           33132.98     0.73
                                      
 Colombia IGBC              12952.17     0.27
                                      
                                             
 Currencies                           daily %
                                       change
                              Latest  
 Brazil real                  3.8875     0.75
                                      
 Mexico peso                 19.2934     0.22
                                      
 Chile peso                      678     0.77
                                      
 Colombia peso                  3163     0.33
 Peru sol                      3.317     0.09
                                      
 Argentina peso              43.0800     1.32
 (interbank)                          
                                      
 

 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; Editing by Dan Grebler)
  
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