EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil markets sink on unemployment, Lula report
SAO PAULO, June 25 (Reuters) - Brazil's financial markets weakened on Thursday after higher-than-expected unemployment data, with investors further rattled by a report that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took legal action to avoid arrest in an ongoing corruption investigation involving oil firm Petrobras. Other currencies in the region were little-changed, although Chile's peso held onto slight gains on higher prices for copper, the country's main export. Equities markets were broadly lower, with MSCI Latin American stock index on track for its biggest intraday loss in nearly one month. Data on Thursday showed Brazil's non-seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose in May to 6.7 percent, the highest since 2010, from 6.4 percent in April. The data reinforced expectations that Brazil will enter a painful recession this year. Meanwhile, traders focused on a report by a local newspaper that a habeas corpus legal filing had been made on behalf of former President Lula to protect him from unlawful arrest in Brazil's so-called "Car Wash" corruption investigation. Spokespersons for Lula later said the proceeding had not been filed by the ex-president or his representatives and they had no prior knowledge of it. Still, local assets took an initial dip following the report. "The market got scared, and in doubt, bought the dollar," said Francisco Carvalho, head of currency trading at BGC Liquidez in Sao Paulo. Brazil's Bovespa stock index slipped its most in over a month, led by shares of state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as Petrobras, which is at the heart of the "Car Wash" investigation. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1725 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 987.93 -0.54 3.87 MSCI LatAm 2532.27 -1.24 -6 Brazil Bovespa 53098.08 -1.38 6.18 Mexico IPC 45466.96 0.09 5.38 Chile IPSA 3863.45 -1.08 0.32 Chile IGPA 18851.41 -0.92 -0.10 Argentina MerVal 11447.479 -0.91 33.44 Colombia IGBC 10215.55 -1.02 -12.20 Peru IGRA - - - Venezuela IBC 13204.47 6 242.20 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.1133 -0.40 -14.64 Mexico peso 15.4919 0.01 -4.83 Chile peso 631.25 0.16 -3.94 Colombia peso 2555.55 0.11 -6.56 Peru sol 3.1681 0.13 -5.97 Argentina peso 9.0700 0.00 -5.73 (interbank) Argentina peso 13.57 0.59 3.17 (parallel) (Reporting by Bruno Federowski. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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