EMERGING MARKETS-Latam FX steady near highs ahead of Fed minutes
MEXICO CITY, May 21 (Reuters) - Latin American markets were little changed on Wednesday ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting, with currencies trading near recent highs backed by bets of a slow withdrawal of U.S. stimulus. Mexico's peso dipped slightly to trade at 12.9150 per dollar after hitting a five-month high last week. Brazil's real firmed 0.2 percent to 2.2113 per dollar. It has been trading in a narrow range since hitting a more than five-month high in April following a recent cycle of interest rate hikes that have boosted the real's appeal. Minutes from the Fed's April policy meeting could suggest the central bank will raise interest rates more slowly than expected, which would support demand for higher-yielding emerging market assets. The FOMC minutes are set for release at 2:00 pm EDT (1800 GMT). The MSCI Latin American stock index rose 0.6 percent, bouncing back after a drop in the previous session on a slump in Chilean stocks. MSCI's broader emerging equity index edged up to hold near 6-1/2 month highs. Brazil's Bovespa stock index rose 0.37 percent, rebounding from a three-week low hit in the previous session. A closely watched Brazilian electoral poll is due Thursday. Recent polls showing a decline in President Dilma Rousseff's approval rating ahead of October's election have driven big gains in the stock market as shareholders hold out hope for a more market-friendly administration. Mexican stocks were little changed, while Chilean markets were closed for a holiday. Latin American markets at 1900 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI LatAm 3,328.99 0.52 3.47 Brazil Bovespa 52,712.80 0.66 2.34 Mexico IPC 41,810.22 0.01 -2.15 Chile IPSA 3,881.35 -1.37 4.92 Chile IGPA 19,029.89 -1.17 4.40 Argentina MerVal 7,141.41 -1.06 32.47 Colombia IGBC 13,499.82 0.20 3.28 Peru IGRA 15,647.40 -0.18 -0.67 Venezuela IBC 2,188.40 -0.06 -20.03 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.2113 0.20 6.59 Mexico peso 12.9160 -0.05 0.88 Chile peso 552.8000 Closed -4.83 Colombia peso 1908.2500 0.70 1.24 Peru sol 2.7860 0.11 0.25 Argentina peso 8.0600 0.03 -19.45 (interbank) Argentina peso 11.8400 -0.59 -15.54 (parallel) (Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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