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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazilian stocks drop on financials; Latam currencies weaken

2:52pm GMT

By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 16 Brazilian stocks fell on Wednesday as bank losses weighed on the Bovespa index despite robust gains from the retail and materials sector, while currencies in Latin America weakened against the U.S. dollar. Sao Paulo's benchmark index fell 0.2 percent, further retreating from record-high levels as financial stocks sagged after the biggest U.S. banks blamed a bond market slump towards the end of 2018 for lower fixed-income revenues. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A led the declines among financials, while Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA lost the most on the index after it lowered its revenue projection for 2018, hurt by fewer deliveries of executive jets and a runway testing incident with a new jet. Embraer is in the midst of finalizing a deal with Boeing in which it expects to sell 80 percent of its commercial aviation division for $4.2 billion. Shares of Brazilian gun maker Taurus Armas SA, which does not trade on the benchmark, fell more than 10 percent after Brazil's government said it is contemplating opening the domestic market to foreigners. Among top gainers, oil marketing firm Cosan SA Industria e Comercio rose 2.5 percent and retailer Via Varejo was up 2.6 percent. The Bovespa has so far risen almost 7 percent since the beginning of the year, continuing a bull run after emerging as one of the top performing indexes across the world in 2018. Latin American currencies meanwhile, weakened as the dollar benefited from the euro's fall after the British parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal. Brazil's real and Mexico's peso slid for a second consecutive session, while Chile's peso was one of the few currencies in the region to gain, buoyed by a rise in the price of copper, the country's main export. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1315 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 1006.25 0.11 MSCI LatAm 2821.48 -0.2 Brazil Bovespa 93956.96 -0.2 Mexico IPC - - Chile IPSA 5376.69 0.05 Argentina MerVal - - Colombia IGBC - - Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 3.7211 -0.10 Mexico peso 19.0103 -0.11 Chile peso 674.4 0.20 Colombia peso 3127.35 0.38 Peru sol - - Argentina peso (interbank) - - (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru Editing by Paul Simao)

EMERGING MARKETS-China export data weighs on emerging market shares; FX weakens

14 Jan 2019

* India's rupee lowest in nearly one month after inflation data

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks end week higher; FX buoyed by Fed's cautious stance

11 Jan 2019

(New throughout, adds market commentator's quote) By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 11 Latin American stocks slid amid profit taking on Wall Street on Friday, but were on pace to log a positive week with Brazil's Bovespa hitting record highs. Currencies in the region fell against a firm dollar, but crept toward weekly gains. MSCI's index for Latin American stocks logged gains for a fourth straight week, boosted this week by hopes that the China-U.S. trade tensions would ease and that the U.S. Federal Reserve will be patient on raising interest rates. Brazil's benchmark index Bovespa hit several record highs during the week approaching the 94,000 mark, as President Jair Bolsonaro's proposed reforms buoyed investor sentiment. Bolsonaro's proposed overhaul of the costly state pension system announced this week received a thumbs up from markets as it is perceived to be one of the main causes of chronic budget deficits and mounting public debt. "The real and Bovespa already reflect successful delivery of the significant pension reform," Credit Suisse analysts said in a note. Shares of planemaker Embraer reached their best price since July last year on Friday following the Brazilian government's authorization of Embraer's agreement with Boeing Co the previous day after market close. Stock markets in Mexico, which fell 0.2 percent on the day, logged their best week since August last year, while the benchmark index in Chile registered its best week since December 2017. Buenos Aires' stock index Merval lost strength on selective profit taking and fell 0.8 percent on the day, led by declines in shares of banks, but delivered a third straight week of gains. Most currencies in the region were set to end the week higher with Colombia's peso leading gains as the dollar was on pace to lose for a fourth straight week, having been especially hit this week by the Fed expressing caution about raising borrowing costs in the United States. "The gradual increase in interest rates in the United States can be stopped at any moment," said Fernando Bergallo, director of FB Capital's currency board, noting the positive effect of the U.S. central bank statement. Mexico's peso was set to deliver its seventh straight week of gains, partly aided by higher crude prices through the week, but caution remained over gasoline shortages. The central bank warned about negative effects on the economy and inflation if the crisis persisted. Chile's peso posted a slight advance against the dollar on the day and closed at its highest level in more than five weeks, driven by an advance in the price of copper, the country's main export. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2130 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 1001.11 0.24 MSCI LatAm 2817.50 -0.55 Brazil Bovespa 93658.31 -0.16 Mexico IPC 43583.88 -0.19 Chile IPSA 5352.88 1.04 Argentina MerVal 33884.60 -0.83 Colombia IGBC 11621.44 -0.06 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 3.7110 -0.08 Mexico peso 19.1384 0.08 Chile peso 674.5 0.10 Colombia peso 3136.15 -0.02 Peru sol 3.347 -0.18 Argentina peso (interbank) 36.8700 0.62 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Additional Reporting by Claudia Violante in Sao Paulo; editing by Grant McCool)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam forex buoyed by dovish Fed minutes; stocks rally on trade optimism

09 Jan 2019

(Adds market details, changes market commentator's quote) * Brazil's Bovespa crosses 93,000-level for first time ever * Mexico's peso at near three-month high * Dollar tumbles to its lowest level since October 2018 By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 9 Latin American currencies jumped across the board on Wednesday taking advantage of a weak dollar after the U.S. Federal Reserve expressed caution about future rate hikes, while stocks in the region rallied as investors reduced safe-haven bets due to optimism about U.S.-China trade talks. Minutes from last month's Fed policy meeting showed a range of policymakers said they could be patient about future interest rate increases and a few did not support the central bank's rate increase in December 2018. Emerging market currencies including those in Latin America were buoyed by the dovish stance from Fed with Brazil's real climbing over 0.8 percent as the dollar slid to its lowest level since October 2018. "The dollar has come of quite significantly today giving a major boost to emerging market currencies," said Christian Lawrence, senior market strategist, LatAm FX, Rabobank. Rising U.S. borrowing costs had reduced the attractiveness of riskier emerging market assets in 2018, but a dovish stance since the last quarter of 2018 has helped currencies in the developing world. "The market is currently positioned for no rate hike, but we would argue for possibly one rate hike in March 2019 and then rate cuts in 2020," said Lawrence. Mexico's peso appreciated at its best level in nearly three months aided by a jump of 5 percent in oil prices, while Chile's peso closed at its highest level in almost five weeks supported by a rebound in the price of copper, the country's main export. MSCI's index for Latin American stocks rose over 2 percent on trade optimism news with Brazil's Bovespa index crossing 93,000 for the first time in its history in a broad-based rally. The Brazilian government's proposed social security reform was also in focus as it plans to introduce individual contributions into private funds to ensure the pensions of future generations and help boost growth. Overhaul of the country's costly state pension system is a top priority for Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro, because it is the main cause of chronic budget deficits and a mounting and unsustainable public debt. Stocks in Mexico hovered around two-month highs led by gains in shares of petrochemical company Alpek, while Argentina's stock market also rose sharply, led by purchases of financial stocks. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2130 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 994.41 1.94 MSCI LatAm 2823.88 2.01 Brazil Bovespa 93613.04 1.72 Mexico IPC 43667.63 0.29 Chile IPSA 5264.51 0.77 Argentina MerVal 33769.35 2.6 Colombia IGBC 11589.34 0.76 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 3.6806 0.87 Mexico peso 19.2145 0.75 Chile peso 676.8 0.47 Colombia peso 3133.75 0.49 Peru sol 3.338 0.06 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.3500 0.64 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru Editing by Marguerita Choy)

EMERGING MARKETS-Mexico stocks jump on IPO tax cut incentive; Latam FX gains

08 Jan 2019

(Adds market details) By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 8 Latin American stocks broadly rose on Tuesday, with Mexico's benchmark index hitting a near two-month high on news of expected tax cuts for companies taking the IPO route, as global equities gained on optimism over U.S.-China trade talks. The dollar rebounded from Monday's near three-month low, mainly at the euro's expense, pressuring many emerging currencies, but a lift in oil prices helped currencies of net exporters in Latin America. MSCI's index for Latin American stocks hovered around two-month highs, pushed up by a 1.6 percent rise in Mexico's IPC index after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's leftist government said it would seek to boost initial public offerings by giving tax cuts to owners of companies that list. Investors saw the move as a positive step after being shaken last year over worries about policymaking under the new administration, particularly the scrapping of an airport project that Lopez Obrador said was tainted by corruption. In these first days of the new year, sentiment is more confident, said Gerardo Sienra, head of equity sales at Mexican brokerage Intercam. But he cautioned that on any given day the rules could change. Brazil's Bovespa index closed above 92,000 points for the first time ever after hitting several record highs last week. BRF <BRFS3.SA > was the highest gainer on the index with traders citing the positive outlook for the U.S.-China trade talks, which could bring relief to commodity prices such as soybeans, benefiting the food maker. Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes was the top loser, with its preferred shares closing down 1.3 percent after it released preliminary fourth-quarter results. Indexes in Colombia and Chile also rose, but Buenos Aires' Merval Index fell 0.3 percent, led by declines in bank shares. Currencies in the region outperformed their emerging market peers with the Colombian peso leading gains after oil prices rose more than 2 percent on the trade talk optimism. "The difference in the EM currencies today would be mainly because of the movement of oil with the Colombian peso emerging as one of the better performers," said Christian Lawrence, senior market strategist, LatAm FX, Rabobank. Brazil's real and Chile's peso gained, but Argentina's peso fell 0.7 percent in response to a drop in the rate paid by the central bank in a bidding for Liquidity Letters "Leliq." Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 975.51 -0.25 MSCI LatAm 2768.16 0.71 Brazil Bovespa 92031.86 0.36 Mexico IPC 43542.87 1.65 Chile IPSA 5224.28 0.66 Argentina MerVal 32914.88 -0.29 Colombia IGBC 11501.84 0.85 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 3.7132 0.61 Mexico peso 19.3710 0.05 Chile peso 680 0.14 Colombia peso 3148.95 0.99 Peru sol 3.34 0.36 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.5400 -0.59 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Michael O'Boyle in Mexico City; Editing by Leslie Adler)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies mixed, Brazil stocks retreat from record highs

07 Jan 2019

(Adds market details throughout) By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 7 Latin American currencies were mixed against a soft dollar on Monday, while stocks barring Brazil's Bovespa rose, on a day when global equities were buoyed on optimism over the resumption of U.S.-China trade talks. The dollar weakened, pressured by expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will either pause or halt its interest rate hike cycle, propping up developing world currencies. While currencies such as the Mexican peso and the Argentine peso took some benefit from the greenback's fall, Brazil's real suffered heavy losses, declining for the first time in four sessions. "The moves in currencies today are slightly driven by local factors but there is also some fear from what the Fed will actually do with interest rates in the U.S. as Latam currencies are much more sensitive to them than before," said Christian Lawrence, Senior Market Strategist, LatAm FX, Rabobank. The Bovespa index fell, retreating from last week's record highs as gains in the energy and financial sector were not enough to counter losses in the other sectors. Eletrobras and Brazil's biggest airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes were amongst the biggest decliners on the index. Preferential shares of Petrobras climbed by 3.24 percent and ordinary by 1.58 percent, after a Brazilian newspaper reported the government will pay $14 billion to the company to settle a dispute about the so-called transfer of rights area off the Brazilian coast. Brazil's Economy Ministry has however, denied the report, telling Reuters in a statement that it was only one of several proposals passed to the transition team of President Jair Bolsonaro by his predecessor Michel Temer. Chile's peso fell marginally after data showed that the country's copper exports were down 13.6 percent in December for the world's largest copper producer because of the volatility in the U.S.-China trade war. Chile's benchmark index rose slightly with gains from lithium producers Albemarle and SQM as statistics showed Chile's exports of lithium exceeded from the previous year in December as demand for the key component in electric vehicle batteries continues to rise. Mexico's peso touched its best level since the end of October last year, helped by an oil price rise of about 3 percent on Monday, while its benchmark index advanced to close at its best level since the beginning of November 2018. Buenos Aires' main stock index climbed over 2 percent to reach its highest level since October 2018 with robust gains from Banco Macro and aluminum company Aluar Aluminio Argentino The Colombian stock markets were shut for a public holiday. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 977.96 1.35 MSCI LatAm 2748.78 0.39 Brazil Bovespa 91699.05 -0.15 Mexico IPC 42834.20 0.89 Chile IPSA 5190.06 0.02 Argentina MerVal 33010.54 2.19 Colombia IGBC - - Currencies daily % Latest change Brazil real 3.7351 -0.07 Mexico peso 19.3560 0.07 Chile peso 679.8 0.03 Colombia peso 3179.99 0.30 Peru sol 3.352 -0.20 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.3000 0.19 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; editing by Grant McCool)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks rally; Brazil's Bovespa at all-time high

04 Jan 2019

(Recasts throughout) By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 4 Latin American stock markets rallied on Friday with Brazil's benchmark index notching a record-high close for the third straight day as investors cheered fresh U.S.-China trade talks, a strong U.S. payrolls report and a perceived dovish stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Equities around the globe rallied as U.S. employment data pointed to economic strength and on news that China and the United States will hold trade talks in Beijing next week. Stocks surged further after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank will be sensitive to the downside risks the market is pricing in. MSCI's index for Latin American stocks posted its best week since July 2017, pulled higher by robust gains on Brazil's Bovespa index which logged a new all-time high for the third consecutive day. "The biggest driver was global factors today, mostly on the news coming from abroad," said Mauricio Oreng, senior Brazil strategist at Rabobank. Bovespa began the day with pressure on profits, following statements by President Jair Bolsonaro about a pension reform for minimum retirement ages significantly lower than those proposed by his predecessor, but later turned positive after the opening of U.S. stock markets. "For the time being we don't have solid information on the actual plans of Bolsonaro, so markets are on a wait-and-see mood," added Oreng. Buenos Aires' Merval index outperformed all regional stock markets by jumping 4 percent on the day, also posting its biggest weekly gain since the first week of November 2018. Indexes in Mexico, Chile and Colombia also rose between 0.3 percent and 1.1 percent on the overall upbeat sentiment from abroad. A soft dollar, meanwhile, helped prop up currencies in the region, after Powell said the central bank would be patient with its monetary policy which investors largely read as dovish. "It's sort of tentative. We may see a lot more choppiness until the Fed clearly says it will no longer hike rates," said Gustavo Rangel, chief economist, LATAM, at ING Markets. Most Latin American currencies were set to end the week higher with Brazil's real set to post its best week since October 2018. Mexico's peso also edged higher for the week, but remained under pressure with the central bank signaling the need for monetary policy adjustment in wake of high inflation. "Although Banxico remains solid as a rock, most members of the board see upward risks to inflation and continue to support a restrictive stance in the future," said Antje Praefcke, senior FX analyst at Commerzbank in a note. The Chilean peso advanced to its highest level in three weeks, driven by a strong rebound in the price of copper, the country's main export, as U.S.-China trade optimism lifted the industrial metal. Argentina's peso which halved in value in 2018 against the dollar as the country slipped into financial crisis, started the year on a positive note, logging its best week in over two months. Although a loan from the International Monetary Fund to shore up its finances and halt the currency's plunge has helped the economy, President Mauricio Macri's austerity policies have failed to bring his promise of "zero inflation." Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, remembered for her social benefit programmes, is positioning herself to challenge Macri in presidential elections later this year. "It's temporary reprieve for the peso. When it gets to mid-year we are likely to see markets choppy again due to the presidential elections," said Rabobank's Oreng. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2115 Stock indexes daily % change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 966.59 1.79 MSCI LatAm 2741.48 1.76 Brazil Bovespa 91840.79 0.35 Mexico IPC 42470.04 1.01 Chile IPSA 5189.20 1.17 Argentina MerVal 32303.05 3.98 Colombia IGBC 11420.55 0.68 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 3.7144 1.12 Mexico peso 19.4255 1.01 Chile peso 681.8 1.82 Colombia peso 3191.65 1.61 Peru sol 3.345 0.66 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.3500 0.29 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru Editing by Matthew Lewis)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies rise; Brazil stocks hit all-time high

03 Jan 2019

(Recasts throughout, updates prices) By Agamoni Ghosh Jan 3 Latin American currencies propped up against a weak dollar on Thursday, while stock markets in the region were subdued amid a gloom for global equities but Brazil stocks hit an all-time high on market optimism about the new government. MSCI's index for Latin American currencies rose the most in two months led by gains in the Argentinean peso as dollar fell with investors seeking the perceived safety of the Japanese yen after a shock revenue warning from Apple Inc exacerbated concerns about a Chinese and global economic slowdown. Stocks in Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index bucked the global trend to hit a record high for the second day in a row led by the banking and energy sector and as investors remained upbeat about expectations for policy reform by the country's new government headed by President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro's administration took office on Tuesday and was quick to issue decrees affecting the economy, agriculture and society, while forging closer political ties with the United States. "Implementing a liberal agenda as outlined in his (Bolsonaro) speeches reinforces our positive outlook for the stock market," said XP Investments in a client note. The Chilean stock market rose marginally helped by a rise in shares of LATAM Airlines, but gains were capped by a decline in the shares of lithium producer SQM which slid to its lowest level since mid-2017. Chile's peso rose about 0.4 percent but hovered around two-month lows with the country's main export copper sliding to its lowest levels in 1-1/2 years. Mexico's peso and the stock market fell, dragged down by worries about a slowdown in the global economy and a warning from the central bank about inflation expectations remaining high and subject to structural risks. Banco de Mexico (Banxico) raised the reference interest rate to 8.25 percent at the end of December from the 8 percent in force since November, its highest level in more than a decade, citing inflationary pressures. Argentina's benchmark index fell for the first time in five sessions led by losses in electronics manufacturer Mirgor SACIFIA and after data showed industrial output decreased by 13.3 percent in November compared with the same month last year. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2130 GMT Stock indexes daily % Latest change MSCI Emerging Markets 1044.31 1.03 MSCI LatAm 2492.70 -0.64 Brazil Bovespa 75395.81 0.29 Mexico IPC 49545.41 -0.50 Chile IPSA 5254.65 0.07 Argentina MerVal 26045.93 -0.10 Colombia IGBC 12139.54 0.14 Currencies daily % change Latest Brazil real 4.0775 1.00 Mexico peso 18.8270 0.66 Chile peso 660.46 0.51 Colombia peso 2967.47 0.33 Peru sol 3.287 0.18 Argentina peso 30.1300 0.43 (interbank) (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh; Additional reporting by Paula Arend Laier; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies and stocks set to end year lower

31 Dec 2018

(There will be no LATAM-focused emerging markets report on Jan. 1, the New Year holiday. Reuters will resume coverage from Jan. 2) * Brazil's Bovespa up almost 15 pct in 2018 * Argentine peso halved in value against the dollar * Mexico stocks have steepest annual fall in a decade By Agamoni Ghosh Dec 31 Latin American currencies and stocks were on track to end the year lower on Monday, with stocks on Mexico's benchmark index set to mark the steepest annual fall in a decade, while the peso gained against a soft dollar on the last trading day of 2018. Despite a tumultuous year for developing economies, MSCI's index for Latin American stocks outperformed the over-all emerging markets index, boosted mainly by gains from Brazil's Bovespa, one of the top-performing indexes this year. With most markets in the region shut for the New Year holiday, Mexico's main stock index gained in a session with low volume but was set to record its worst quarter in more than 17 years, mainly due to doubts about the new leftist government and concerns over global growth and trade. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador rattled financial markets in October when he said he would scrap a partly built $13 billion airport on the basis of a straw poll that was widely criticized. Market sentiment was also hammered by a bill drafted by Lopez Obrador's National Regeneration Movement to limit bank fees and another to regulate the mining sector. "Those decisions were not well-received and the unease has persisted among investors," said James Salazar, economist at CI Banco. Currencies in Latin America dipped more than 5 percent this year as rising U.S. borrowing costs reduced the attractiveness of emerging market assets earlier in 2018, leading to capital flows out of many developing countries. The worst casualty for currencies not just for Latin America but emerging-markets as a whole was Argentina's peso, which halved in value against the dollar as the country plunged into financial crisis. Runaway inflation has led Argentina to raise benchmark interest rates dramatically - first to 45 percent, then to 60 percent - pushing its economy into recession and prompting it to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a funding facility to shore up its finances and halt the currency's plunge. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1715 GMT Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 966.95 0.45 -16.9 MSCI LatAm 2564.38 -0.19 -9.15 Brazil Bovespa - - - Mexico IPC 41533.06 0.18 -15.85 Chile IPSA - - - Argentina MerVal - - - Colombia IGBC - - - Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real - - - Mexico peso 19.6468 0.02 0.27 Chile peso - - - Colombia peso - - - Peru sol 3.375 -0.09 -4.09 Argentina peso (interbank) - - - (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sheky Espejo; Editing by Dan Grebler)

EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies mixed; Brazil stocks end 2018 on high note

28 Dec 2018

(Recasts throughout, updates prices, adds market strategist's quote) By Agamoni Ghosh Dec 28 Latin American currencies were mixed against the dollar on Friday but were on track to post weekly gains as regional stocks rose in line with emerging markets worldwide, and indexes such as Brazil's Bovespa capped 2018 with a strong finish. The greenback dipped as U.S. stocks ended a dramatic week capped by large price swings, helping to boost the Japanese yen and currencies such as the Argentinean and Chilean pesos . But Brazil's real slipped 0.2 percent. MSCI's index for Latin American stocks rose over 2 percent for the day to post its first weekly gain in four weeks. Indexes in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires chalked up robust gains. Most stock indexes in the region had their final trading day of 2018, with Brazil's Bovespa rising over 2 percent in a broad-based rally and emerging as one of the top performing indexes this year, up almost 15 percent. Index heavyweights, state-controlled oil firm Petrobras and iron ore miner Vale were up 47 and 32 percent respectively this year. Investors will be eyeing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro's swearing-in next week which has been clouded by a lingering financial scandal involving his son, but markets have so far welcomed his policy pledges that could transform his country. "The market's expectation for the Bolsonaro government remains positive," said UBS Brazil's chief economist and former Central Bank Director Tony Volpon. Argentina's stock markets clocked gains in the year's final session to end 2018 marginally higher, but its currency had the worst year on record as Latin America's third-largest economy plunged into financial crisis. A bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has managed to restore some market confidence in Argentina after investors pulled money out of the nation, leaving the government and companies that hold debt in dollars in turmoil. "Argentina seems to have found temporary relief. ... FX is stabilized with a contractionary monetary and fiscal policy, and we do not expect FX reserve losses from intervention," said Citi analysts in a 2019 outlook report. The Chilean stock market gained for the day but ended the year with a 8.3 percent decline, its biggest in five years, pressured by shares of lithium producer SQM and LATAM Airlines, and fears about global economic growth. The Chilean peso weakened 11.4 percent against the dollar in 2018 as the price of copper, the country's main export, fell. Mexico's IPC index closed marginally higher on the day while its currency hovered around 7-week highs. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2120 GMT Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 962.63 1.08 -16.9 MSCI LatAm 2569.28 2.63 -9.15 Brazil Bovespa 87887.26 2.84 15.03 Mexico IPC 41518.45 0.24 -15.88 Chile IPSA 5105.43 0.69 -8.32 Argentina MerVal 30292.55 2.62 0.75 Colombia IGBC 11144.08 -0.36 -1.99 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.8784 -0.09 -14.57 Mexico peso 19.6631 0.02 0.18 Chile peso 693.7 0.40 -11.40 Colombia peso 3245 0.86 -8.10 Peru sol 3.372 -0.06 -4.00 Argentina peso (interbank) 37.6500 1.86 -50.60 (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Claudia Violante in Sao Paulo; Editing by Richard Chang)

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