EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies gain along with commodities prices
SAO PAULO, April 27 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies strengthened on Monday, driven by higher oil and copper prices as well as encouraging economic data from Mexico. In equities markets, Mexican and Chilean stocks traded mostly stronger while Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index dropped off a five-month high. Data on Monday showed that Mexico's unemployment rate fell to the lowest in over two years in March, while a separate release showed a rise in factory exports. The Mexican peso gained about 0.4 percent against the dollar. The currency was also aided by a slight rise in oil prices on signs that U.S. shale output may have started to decline. Fellow oil producer Colombia saw its peso gain 1.6 percent while the Brazilian real strengthened to 2.91 per dollar, its strongest level since early March. Meanwhile, Chile's peso firmed about 0.6 percent on higher prices for copper, the country's main export. "The rebound in commodity prices has changed relative risk perception across the producer-importer spectrum," wrote Brown Brothers Harriman analysts led by Marc Chandler on Monday, citing an increase in iron ore and oil prices in April. "This has added confidence to the recovery of currencies, such as Brazil's real." The Bovespa stock index ended a three-day rally as a 2 percent gain in iron ore producer Vale SA failed to offset a nearly 5 percent decline in preferred shares of state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras. Morgan Stanley analysts lowered their recommendation on Petrobras' U.S.-listed American depositary receipts to underweight on Monday. The company is currently struggling under a heavy debt load and the ongoing implications of a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1538 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1,068.1 0.72 10.9 MSCI LatAm 2,762.16 1.05 0.21 Brazil Bovespa 55,935.25 -1.16 11.85 Mexico IPC 45,912.06 0.3 6.41 Chile IPSA 4,108.82 0.81 6.70 Chile IGPA 19,887.95 0.7 5.39 Argentina MerVal 12,390.67 -0.15 44.43 Colombia IGBC 10,695.93 0.92 -8.07 Peru IGRA 13,158.81 0.67 -11.05 Venezuela IBC 5,692.59 0 108.02 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 2.9100 1.46 -19.01 Mexico peso 15.3102 0.36 -14.89 Chile peso 609.2 0.58 -13.64 Colombia peso 2,413.1 1.61 -19.94 Peru sol 3.1321 0.10 -10.83 Argentina peso 8.8925 -0.03 -26.99 (interbank) Argentina peso 12.61 1.51 -20.70 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine, editing by G Crosse)
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