EMERGING MARKETS-Petrobras loses ground after Rousseff remarks, real stable
SAO PAULO, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The currencies of Brazil and Mexico were little changed on Monday as a recovery in the Russian rouble eased investors' aversion to emerging markets, while shares of Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras lost ground after President Dilma Rousseff stood by the chief executive of the scandal-hit firm. The real has lost more than 3 percent so far this month and the peso has weakened more than 4 percent, partly because investors lost confidence in emerging markets in general as Russia suffered a currency crisis. The real has also been hurt by doubts about the terms of the central bank's currency intervention program next year. "That's the last question that needs an answer this year," said Glauber Romano, a currency trader at Intercam brokerage, referring to the future of the central bank's intervention program, which provides investors with as much as $200 million worth of currency hedge per day. Central bank chief Alexandre Tombini has said the supply of currency hedge may be cut to as much as $50 million per day in 2015, but hasn't unveiled a final number yet. Meanwhile, shares of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Brazil's oil firm is formally known, gained more than 2 percent earlier in the session on hopes that Rousseff will make changes to the company's board to appease investors worried about a corruption scandal engulfing the company. Petrobras' shares trimmed gains to trade 0.4 percent higher after Rousseff expressed support to chief executive Maria das Gracas Foster. Rousseff confirmed, however, that she plans to make changes to the company's board. Shares of Petrobras have tumbled to their lowest level in nine years earlier this month as an alleged kickback and bribery scheme in the company forced it to delay the release of its quarterly earnings. Shares of meat processor JBS SA plunged 13 percent, weighing the most on the Bovespa index, on a report that the company was involved in the same corruption scandal affecting Petrobras. In a statement to the press, JBS "vehemently" denied the report. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1525 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging 955.89 1.2 -5.79 Markets MSCI LatAm 2705.63 -0.17 -15.32 Brazil Bovespa 49336.4 -0.63 -4.21 Mexico IPC 42753.1 0.52 0.06 Chile IPSA 3801.15 -0.24 2.76 Chile IGPA 18656.77 -0.19 2.36 Argentina MerVal 8115.46 1.16 50.54 Colombia IGBC 11312.87 0.62 -13.45 Peru IGRA 14473.12 -0.01 -8.13 Venezuela IBC 3802.8 0 38.96 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.6536 0.11 -11.18 Mexico peso 14.5927 -0.09 -10.71 Chile peso 609.25 0.17 -13.65 Colombia peso 2313.99 -0.83 -16.51 Peru sol 2.974 -0.24 -6.09 Argentina peso 8.5500 0.03 -24.06 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.1 0.00 -23.66 (parallel) (Reporting by Bruno Federowski and Paula Laier, Writing by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by W Simon)
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