EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil's real holds steady after protests
SAO PAULO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The Brazilian real was little changed on Monday after anti-government protests on Sunday did little to sway investor sentiment over the political risk outlook in Latin America's largest economy. Other currencies in the region weakened slightly, though Chile's peso saw a nearly 1 percent loss against the dollar, partly due to a 1 percent fall in the price for copper , the country's main export. Brazil's real fluctuated in early trading before settling near the 3.48 per dollar level by the mid-afternoon, nearly unchanged from Friday's close. Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians protested against President Dilma Rousseff on Sunday, with many calling for her impeachment. A worsening economic outlook and an ongoing corruption scandal involving state-run oil producer Petrobras has dragged Rousseff's approval rating into the single digits. Investors are concerned that Rousseff's loss of support could jeopardize the government's efforts to enact the fiscal austerity measures needed to ward off a sovereign credit downgrade. Traders said participation in the protests was in line with expectations, offering little indication that the public's calls for impeachment are growing. They also said uncertainty over what comes next kept many on the sidelines. "With no news, it's natural for the market to be more cautious," said Jose Carlos Amado, a trader with brokerage firm Spinelli in Sao Paulo. Nine of 10 economists surveyed by Reuters estimate that, considering Brazil's economic fundamentals, the real is now fairly priced at between 3.20 per U.S. dollar and the current level of 3.50. The currency has weakened 24 percent against the dollar this year alone. Brazil's Bovespa stock index edged slightly lower. Shares of homebuilder MRV Engenharia e Participacoes SA shot up 4.4 percent, however, after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and projected strong performance in coming quarters. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1820 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % Latest change change MSCI Emerging Markets 854.01 -1.14 -9.67 MSCI LatAm 2143.35 -0.38 -21.13 Brazil Bovespa 47350.3241 -0.33 -5.31 8 Mexico IPC 43926.3 0.41 1.81 Chile IPSA 3790.23 -0.24 -1.58 Chile IGPA 18491.02 -0.12 -2.01 Argentina MerVal 11452.989 -1.9 33.50 Colombia IGBC 9707.21 -0.44 -16.57 Venezuela IBC 15090.7 -1.84 291.08 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.4803 0.06 -23.64 Mexico peso 16.4034 -0.16 -10.12 Chile peso 689.75 -0.80 -12.08 Colombia peso 2995 -0.20 -20.27 Peru sol 3.2441 -0.12 -8.17 Argentina peso 9.2400 -0.03 -7.47 (interbank) Argentina peso 15.05 -0.53 -6.98 (parallel) (Reporting by Asher Levine and Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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