EMERGING MARKETS-Plunging oil batters Latin American markets
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies and stocks fell on Monday as U.S. crude oil prices plunged below $50 a barrel for the first time since 2009, darkening the outlook for the region's commodities exports. Shares of Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA drove Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index 2 percent lower, while the Colombian peso, one of the regional currencies most vulnerable to lower oil prices, sank 2.4 percent. Petrobras, as the Brazilian oil company is known, sank more than 7 percent. It has lost about 60 percent of its value since mid-October, when top executives at several of Petrobras' contractors were arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged corruption scheme at the oil company. As a result of their recent drop, Petrobras shares have lost nearly half of their weighting on the Bovespa index, according to the new index portfolio that went into effect on Monday. The currencies of Colombia and Brazil led losses in Latin American foreign exchange markets as investors feared the impact of lower commodity prices on economic growth. The currencies would also be hurt an expected rise in U.S. interest rates. "The Brazilian real and the Colombian peso are the most vulnerable to tighter external financial conditions in 2015," Flavia Cattan-Naslausky, a currency strategist at RBS, said in a research note. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1820 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging 939.73 -1.47 -0.27 Markets MSCI LatAm 2553.98 -3.15 -3.32 Brazil Bovespa 47533.56 -2.02 -4.95 Mexico IPC 40906.3 -2.87 -5.19 Chile IPSA 3803.37 -1.24 -1.24 Chile IGPA 18673.71 -1.04 -1.04 Argentina MerVal 8153.33 -5.92 -4.96 Colombia IGBC 11009.97 -3.59 -5.37 Peru IGRA 14701.87 -0.62 -0.62 Venezuela IBC 3936.38 2.01 2.01 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.7194 -1.03 -2.28 Mexico peso 14.9575 -0.85 -1.43 Chile peso 616.75 -0.53 -1.68 Colombia peso 2429.9 -2.36 -1.72 Peru sol 2.988 -0.30 -0.30 Argentina peso 8.5625 -0.06 -0.15 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.75 1.82 1.82 (parallel) (Reporting by Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Peter Galloway)
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