EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil leads Latam stocks lower on oil, Petrobras woes

viernes 12 de diciembre de 2014 13:00 GYT
 

By Priscila Jordão
    SAO PAULO, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Brazilian stocks fell the most
in Latin America while the real hit a 2005 low as global concern
over plunging crude prices and the Chinese economy added to
domestic woes related to a growing corruption scandal at
state-run oil company Petrobras.
    Oil fell to fresh lows not seen since July 2009 as data
showed China's factory output rose less than expected in
November, increasing concerns about commodity-exporting
countries with emerging economies. 
    Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index sank nearly 3
percent while shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as
the oil company is formally known, slid 4.5 percent to a
nine-year low of 10.34 reais.
    Petrobras has been hit by a perfect storm of falling oil
prices, which raised doubts about the company's massive
investment program, and a widening corruption scandal which
resulted in criminal charges against executives of six of
Brazil's largest engineering firms that had contracts with the
oil firm. 
    "Petrobras is suffering with the political scandal but its
share price is also dropping with those of other oil companies,"
said Hersz Ferman, an economist with Elite brokerage in Brazil.
"Oil's drop has been so sharp that it's increasing the credit
risk of those companies."
    Shares of Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SA 
slumped 6.6 percent, the most among the components of the
Bovespa index, after the steelmaker and a group of Asian
partners agreed to move forward with a merger of their mining
and logistics assets. 
    Meanwhile, the Brazilian real lost 0.7 percent to
2.6643, its weakest since April 2005, as questions about the
future of a central bank currency intervention program also
weighed on the exchange rate.
    Central bank chief Alexandre Tombini has said the bank will
make a decision by the end of the year on the future of the
program, which supports the real by providing investors with
currency hedges through the sale of forex swaps.
    Elsewhere in Latin America, Chilean stocks  
were only modestly lower as prices of copper, the country's main
export product, rose on hopes that China would unleash more
stimulus measures after the recent weak economic data.
    Mexican financial markets were closed for a local holiday. 
    
    Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1645 GMT:
    
 Stock indexes                   daily %    YTD %
                                  change   change
                      Latest              
 MSCI Emerging           938.58    -0.79    -5.65
 Markets                                  
 MSCI LatAm             2625.33    -2.25   -16.09
                                          
 Brazil Bovespa        48507.45    -2.72    -5.82
                                          
 Chile IPSA             3819.76    -0.15     3.26
                                          
 Chile IGPA            18760.89    -0.14     2.93
                                          
 Argentina MerVal      8357.649    -3.38    55.03
                                          
 Colombia IGBC         10659.61    -1.53   -18.45
                                          
 Peru IGRA             14829.16    -0.17    -5.87
                                          
 Venezuela IBC             3863     0.24    41.16
                                          
                                                 
 Currencies                      daily %    YTD %
                                  change   change
                         Latest           
 Brazil real             2.6705    -0.92   -11.75
                                          
 Mexico peso            14.7945    -0.11   -11.93
                                          
 Chile peso               618.7    -0.48   -14.97
                                          
 Colombia peso          2406.99     0.04   -19.73
                                          
 Peru sol                 2.961     0.20    -5.67
                                          
 Argentina peso          8.5525     0.00   -24.09
 (interbank)                              
                                          
 Argentina peso           12.73    -0.24   -21.45
 (parallel)                               
                                          
 
 (Writing by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)