EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets track commods higher; Petrobras up on CEO talk
SAO PAULO, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Latin American financial markets mostly gained on Tuesday as declining tension over Greece's debt situation and higher oil and commodity prices fueled demand for riskier assets. The MSCI Latin American stock index posted its biggest gain in almost two weeks while nearly every currency in the region strengthened against the dollar. Signs have emerged that Greece is softening its approach to debt negotiations, which could avert a potentially market-shaking debt writedown from the European Union nation. At the same time, battered oil prices got some relief on Tuesday on expectations for a slowdown in production. Latin American currencies rose on mounting risk appetite, especially those of oil producers such as Mexico and Colombia. Both countries' currencies strengthened for the second straight day. Chile's peso gained alongside higher prices for copper, the country's main export. The Brazilian real also gained, though it faced technical resistance at the 2.70 per dollar level. Brazil's Bovespa stock index was on track to post its biggest gain since Jan. 21, boosted by a 14.4 percent jump in preferred shares of Petrobras. Shares of the troubled state-run oil producer formally known as Petroleo Brasileiro SA headed toward their biggest one-day rise since early 1999 following a report that its chief executive was set to be replaced. A government spokesman later denied the report. Petrobras is currently embroiled in a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation. "People believe that replacing (CEO) Graca Foster will help Petrobras recover some credibility," said Leonardo Bardese, an equities strategist with BGC Liquidez in Sao Paulo. "The market will be happy should Graca and other directors be replaced by people more linked to the market and not to political parties." Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1640 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging 976.8 1.35 0.78 Markets MSCI LatAm 2645.49 2.5 -5.38 Brazil Bovespa 48913.7 2.65 -2.19 Mexico IPC 41695.61 1.82 -3.36 Chile IPSA 3896.32 0.9 1.18 Chile IGPA 19000.61 0.77 0.69 Argentina MerVal 8996.47 4.27 4.87 Colombia IGBC 11078.6 2.94 -4.78 Peru IGRA 13648.48 0.78 -7.75 Venezuela IBC 3582.3 -6.34 -7.16 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.7000 0.53 -1.57 Mexico peso 14.7506 0.81 -0.04 Chile peso 627.6 0.42 -3.38 Colombia peso 2370.99 1.41 0.72 Peru sol 3.057 0.13 -2.55 Argentina peso 8.6575 -0.03 -1.24 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.25 0.98 5.66 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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