EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil currency gains before anti-government rally
(Updates with final prices) By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, March 11 (Reuters) - Brazil's currency rose on Friday, two days ahead of mass demonstrations asking for President Dilma Rousseff's ouster, and ended the week on politically-driven gains. State prosecutors are seeking the arrest of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on charges of money laundering and identity fraud, heightening the pressure on Rousseff, his protege. Rousseff is currently facing impeachment proceedings in Congress, an event which some traders believe could eventually open the way for a recovery in Latin America's biggest economy. Analysts singled out anti-government rallies planned for this weekend as a litmus test of public support for the impeachment if the turnout is strong. Traders also bought reais ahead of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party's national convention on Saturday. The party, known as the PMDB, could decide to split with Rousseff's coalition, eliminating another barrier to her removal. "This is going to be a pivotal weekend on the political front," said José Carlos Amado, a trader with Spinelli brokerage in São Paulo. Shares of state-controlled oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the center of a wide corruption scandal, rose for a 10th consecutive session, its longest stretch of gains since July 2014. The Brazilian real posted its third weekly gain in a row after its best performance in eight years last week on news that Lula was detained for questioning by federal police. The currency moved below 3.60 per U.S. dollar on Friday for the first time since August 2015, closing at 3.5910. Despite the rally, the central bank said it will not reduce the stock of currency swaps, contracts which offer protection from currency devaluations, a senior member of the government's economic team told Reuters on Friday. Boosted by higher oil prices, Mexico's peso currency rose by 0.62 percent, to 17.70 peso per dollar, for a weekly rise of 0.42 percent. Key Latin American stock indexes at 1030 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 800.91 1.29 0.85 MSCI LatAm 2080.59 1.45 13.71 Brazil Bovespa 49638.68 0.14 14.51 Mexico IPC 44617.74 0.63 3.82 Chile IPSA 3839.83 0.15 4.34 Chile IGPA 18815.72 0.20 3.66 Argentina MerVal 13051.54 -0.91 11.79 Colombia IGBC 9655.15 0.43 12.96 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Leslie Adler)
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