EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil markets melt as oil, ruble spook investors
SAO PAULO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian financial markets opened sharply lower on Tuesday as falling oil prices and a plunge in the Russian ruble drove investors toward safer assets. The Brazilian real fell to 2.73 per dollar, near its weakest in ten years, while the Bovespa stock index crossed below the 46,000-point mark for the first time since March. Brent crude fell over $1 per barrel on Tuesday to below $60 for the first time since July 2009 as a global supply glut continued to thrash prices. Russia said on Tuesday it would not cut oil output to help prop up prices and refrained from calling on OPEC to do so despite its economy showing signs of severe stress. The ruble tumbled more than 10 percent for the second day on Tuesday, with confidence in the central bank evaporating after an ineffectual overnight rate hike. Brazil's real, which has weakened nearly 6 percent this month on uncertainty over the future of the central bank's currency intervention program and the outlook for U.S. interest rates, extended its losses into a fifth session. Yields on Brazilian interest rate futures <0#DIJ:> shot higher, with investors betting on bigger rate hikes in the future to help contain inflationary pressure from the weaker currency. The Bovespa stock index opened with a decline of more than 2 percent, though it returned part of the losses shortly after. Preferred shares of Brazil's state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA fell for a seventh straight day, sinking to their lowest since early 2005. The stock is down 45 percent this year, hurt by both an ongoing corruption investigation at the company and the decline in oil prices. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1450 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 912.67 -1.23 -7.84 MSCI LatAm 2,500.44 -1.32 -20.84 Brazil Bovespa 46,500.25 -1.1 -9.72 Mexico IPC 0.00 - - Chile IPSA 3,748.57 -0.12 1.33 Chile IGPA 18,445.50 -0.1 1.20 Argentina MerVal 0.00 - - Colombia IGBC 10,262.96 - - Peru IGRA 0.00 - - Venezuela IBC 0.00 - - Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.7246 -1.40 -13.50 Mexico peso 14.8100 -0.34 -12.02 Chile peso 622.2000 - -15.45 Colombia peso 0.0000 - - Peru sol 2.9660 - -5.83 Argentina peso 8.5500 0.03 -24.06 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.1200 -2.06 -23.78 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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