January 25, 2018 / 4:02 PM / a year ago

REFILE-EMERGING MARKETS-Currencies jump as dollar dips; Argentina's Merval breaches 35,000

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    By Rodrigo Campos
    NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Mexican peso touched its
strongest against the dollar in nearly four months on Thursday
as the U.S. currency continued to weaken, while Argentina's
Merval stock index briefly broke above the 35,000-point
mark for the first time.
    Many emerging currencies hit multi-year highs against the
greenback, with the dollar index languishing at more than
three-year lows after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
departed from traditional U.S. currency policy, saying
"obviously a weaker dollar is good for us."
    Colombia's peso added to Wednesday's 1.4 percent gain
against the dollar to reach its strongest since July 2015, while
the Chilean peso could close under 600 per dollar for
the first time since May 2015.
    Brazilian markets were closed for the Sao Paulo anniversary
holiday but are expected to soon extend a rally that boosted the
benchmark Bovespa stock index to an all-time high above
83,000 points on Wednesday. That advance came after an appeals
court upheld a corruption conviction of former President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva.
    Although the conviction could derail his plans to run again
for the presidency, Lula, who is leading opinion polls for the
October election, said on Thursday he would appeal the decision.
    Brazilian and Argentine shares have led a Latin American
equities rally to start the year that has MSCI's gauge of the
region's stocks set for its largest January
gains since 2006.
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1545 GMT:
 Stock indexes                               daily %      YTD %
                                   Latest     change     change
 MSCI Emerging Markets             1262.45      0.29       8.66
 MSCI LatAm                        3198.99      0.92      12.09
 Brazil Bovespa                                            9.53
 Mexico IPC                       50881.41      0.27       3.09
 Chile IPSA                        5824.19      0.45       4.67
 Chile IGPA                       29265.95       0.4       4.59
 Argentina Merval                 34773.14      -0.5      15.66
 Colombia IGBC                    12262.79     -0.42       7.85
 Currencies                                  daily %      YTD %
                                              change     change
 Brazil real                        3.1470      0.35       5.28
 Mexico peso                       18.4500      0.29       6.77
 Chile peso                         598.68      0.62       2.67
 Colombia peso                     2790.37      0.73       6.87
 Peru sol                            3.209      0.12       0.87
 Argentina peso (interbank)        19.5400      0.67      -4.81
 Argentina peso (parallel)            19.9      0.65      -3.37

 (Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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