EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currency steady as U.S. rates seen rising slowly
SAO PAULO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies were mostly steady on Thursday as traders saw an increase in U.S. interest rates as a sign of confidence in the world's largest economy and took comfort that additional tightening would likely be slow in coming. The Federal Reserve raised benchmark rates for the first time in nearly a decade on Wednesday, signaling faith that the U.S. economy had healed the wounds of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. Although higher U.S. rates could pull investment away from emerging markets, Latin American currencies mostly strengthened after the announcement. Traders cited Fed Chair Janet Yellen's assurance that the bank will proceed slowly with hikes over the following months. Wall Street's top banks expect the Fed to next raise rates in the first quarter of next year, a Reuters poll showed. "For the market, this is the best of both worlds," said Reginaldo Galhardo, head of foreign exchange trading at Treviso brokerage in São Paulo. The Mexican peso weakened about 0.6 percent after posting its best 6-day stretch in about three weeks on Wednesday. The Brazilian real, which had already closed at the time of the Fed announcement, rose 0.9 percent. Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1245 GMT: Latin American market prices from Reuters Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 798.28 1 -17.36 MSCI LatAm 1908.63 1.76 -31.24 Brazil Bovespa 45879.52 1.92 -8.25 Mexico IPC 43648.06 0.5 1.16 Chile IPSA 3656.43 1.02 -5.05 Chile IGPA 18023.66 0.94 -4.49 Argentina MerVal 12269.439 1.93 43.02 Colombia IGBC 8453.72 0.49 -27.34 Venezuela IBC 14514.16 0 276.14 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.8960 0.69 -31.79 Mexico peso 17.081 -0.63 -13.68 Chile peso 708.7 -0.04 -14.43 Colombia peso 3328.4 0.12 -28.25 Peru sol 3.3721 -0.12 -11.66 Argentina peso (interbank) 13.8500 -29.04 -38.27 Argentina peso (parallel) 14.47 0.69 -3.25 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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