EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil assets fall after banker arrest sparks political worries
SAO PAULO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Brazil's stocks and its currency dropped on Monday after the country's top court agreed to keep influential banker André Esteves under arrest indefinitely, sparking concerns about the extent of a sweeping political corruption scandal. Investors worry that political uncertainty could make it even harder for President Dilma Rousseff's government to pass austerity measures in Congress and regain investor trust. Prosecutors are preparing to file charges against Esteves, whom they suspect, along with a senator, of trying to obstruct a long-running graft probe at state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA. Esteves has denied the allegations. The Brazilian real retreated 0.9 percent after earlier reaching its lowest since late October, while the country's benchmark Bovespa stock index lost nearly 1 percent. Grupo BTG Pactual SA shares sunk nearly 12 percent, on the way to their fourth daily loss in a row, after Esteves resigned as chief executive officer and chairman of the bank. Worries about liquidity and funding availability also weighed on the stock, which has lost 34 percent in the past week. Most other Latin American currencies traded near flat as investors avoided making big bets before a European Central Bank policy meeting on Thursday that is expected to introduce new monetary stimulus. The Colombian peso, however, fell 1 percent after the country's central bank raised benchmark rates less than expected despite rising inflation. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1440 GMT Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 817.49 -1.07 -13.59 MSCI LatAm 1952.77 -2 -26.95 Brazil Bovespa 45298.67 -1.25 -9.42 Mexico IPC 44182.81 -0.15 2.40 Chile IPSA 3708.84 -0.27 -3.69 Chile IGPA 18208.11 -0.53 -3.51 Argentina MerVal 13048.6 -0.88 52.10 Colombia IGBC 8270.87 0.27 -28.91 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.8587 -0.92 -31.13 Mexico peso 16.57 0.36 -11.02 Chile peso 710.8 0.10 -14.69 Colombia peso 3137.3 -0.97 -23.88 Peru sol 3.3741 -0.06 -11.71 Argentina peso (interbank) 9.6800 -0.03 -11.67 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.91 1.41 -6.10 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
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