EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's real hits 10-year low after China data
SAO PAULO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real dropped to its weakest level against the dollar in over 10 years on Monday following disappointing economic data from top trade partner China. The MSCI Latin American stock index moved slightly higher as Brazil's Bovespa index offset declines in Mexican and Chilean stocks. Data released late on Sunday showed China's imports dropped 19.9 percent in January from a year earlier, particularly imports of coal, oil and commodities. Latin America is one of China's top suppliers of raw materials such as iron ore, soybeans, copper and petroleum. Data suggesting a slowdown in the Chinese economy tends to reduce demand for Latin American assets. Brazil's real weakened for the fourth straight session, hitting a session low of 2.7967 per dollar, a level it has not reached in over a decade. The currency has taken a beating over the past six months, dropping nearly 25 percent on a range of concerns including weakening economic fundamentals, a potential credit downgrade and expectations for higher U.S. interest rates. Other Latin American currencies, particularly those of petroleum producers Colombia and Mexico managed slight gains on Monday, driven by a modest rally in oil prices. Oil rose for a third straight session on Monday as OPEC forecast greater demand for crude this year than previously thought and projected less supply from countries outside the group. In equity markets, Brazil's Bovespa index erased the previous session's losses, driven by shares of state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, and mining firm Vale SA. Petrobras' gains were driven mostly by bargain hunting after the stock lost 7 percent in the previous session. Investors were disappointed on Friday by the naming of Aldemir Bendine, a close government ally and former Banco do Brasil chief executive, as CEO at the troubled oil company. Meanwhile, Vale, which gets most of its revenues in dollars, gained on the weakening local currency. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1539 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 972.63 -0.61 2.33 MSCI LatAm 2634.27 0.58 -3.98 Brazil Bovespa 49417 1.28 -1.18 Mexico IPC 42660.37 -0.13 -1.12 Chile IPSA 3927.79 -0.59 2.00 Chile IGPA 19116.3 -0.52 1.30 Argentina MerVal 9079.14 0.78 5.83 Colombia IGBC 11051.14 0.14 -5.02 Peru IGRA 13691.67 1.16 -7.45 Venezuela IBC 3614.24 -0.07 -6.34 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 2.7857 -0.32 -4.60 Mexico peso 14.7859 0.36 -0.28 Chile peso 623.9 0.46 -2.80 Colombia peso 2369.2 0.46 0.79 Peru sol 3.063 0.16 -2.74 Argentina peso 8.6550 0.06 -1.21 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.12 0.61 6.71 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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