April 26, 2019 / 9:17 PM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Most Latam FX rise, Argentine peso hits record closing low

 (Recasts throughout, updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew
    April 26 (Reuters) - Most Latin American currencies firmed
against a weaker dollar on Friday, while Argentina's peso
hit an all-time closing low at the end of a rough week due to
economic and political concerns.
    MSCI's index of Latin American currencies
rose 0.7 percent as a dollar rally took a pause after soft U.S.
inflation data. The Latam index fell 1.3 percent on the
week after two weeks of gains. 
    The Argentine peso fell 1.8 percent, taking weekly
losses to 9.2 percent - its steepest weekly drop since late
September. 
    The currency hit a record low last session as biting
recession and runaway inflation threatened President Mauricio
Macri's chances at being re-elected this October.
    Ilya Gofshteyn, a senior emerging markets strategist at
Standard Chartered Bank, said volatility would continue until
the elections, and that investors would demand high returns to
stay in the market given the risks. 
    The peso halved in value against the dollar last year and
has lost 18 percent so far this year. 
    Meanwhile, Brazil's real, which also saw a volatile
week as a crucial pension reform proposal progressed through a
Congressional committee, rose 0.6 percent on the day, but logged
losses for a third straight week.  
    Brazil's Central Bank President Roberto Campos Neto said on
Friday there was no imminent change expected in the way the bank
conducts monetary policy, reiterating expectations for a
medium-term economic recovery.
    Sao Paulo-listed stocks fell 0.3 percent as sliding crude
prices pressured index heavyweight state oil firm Petroleo
Brasileiro, while meat processor JBS SA
fell after hitting an all-time high on Thursday. 
    Colombia's peso firmed 0.1 percent on the day, after
the central bank kept the interest rate unchanged, as expected,
at 4.25 percent to bolster growth.
    Colombia's shares lost with oil firm Ecopetrol down
2.3 percent. 
    Mexico's peso rose 0.4 percent, but lost 0.9 percent
on the week. Stocks in Mexico City extended losses to a
four straight session with banking stock Gentera SAB de CV
 the worst performer, down 5.6 percent, after J.P.
Morgan downgraded it to 'neutral' from 'overweight'. 
    Equities in Argentina and Chile rose,
in line with world stocks.
        
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2100 GMT:
    Stock indexes             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 MSCI Emerging Markets         1078.06      0.13
                                        
 MSCI LatAm                    2772.46      0.54
                                        
 Brazil Bovespa               96236.04     -0.33
                                        
 Mexico IPC                   44974.97     -0.11
                                        
 Chile IPSA                    5191.70      0.41
                                        
 Argentina MerVal             30001.10       1.5
                                        
 Colombia IGBC                12921.84     -0.43
                                        
                                                
       Currencies             Latest    Daily %
                                         change
 Brazil real                    3.9288      0.62
                                        
 Mexico peso                   18.9318      0.44
                                        
 Chile peso                      674.5      0.12
                                        
 Colombia peso                 3226.55      0.21
 Peru sol                        3.315      0.33
                                        
 Argentina peso                45.8300     -1.59
 (interbank)                            
                                        
     

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru and Walter Bianchi in
Buenos Aires
Editing by Sonya Hepinstalll)
  
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