EMERGING MARKETS-Latam currencies weaken on Fed official's comments, U.S. data
(Adds final prices) By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies weakened on Tuesday as comments by a high-ranking Federal Reserve policymaker and strong U.S. economic data kept investors guessing about the possibility of a September interest rate hike. Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer told Bloomberg TV that the U.S. job market is nearing full strength and the pace of rate increases will depend on the economy's health. But he refrained from commenting on the timing of the next Fed rate hike, saying that will depend on the incoming economic figures. Data on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer sentiment rose to 101.1 in August, handily beating expectations for a reading of 97.0. Fischer had said on Friday that Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech at the global central bankers' conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was "consistent" with the possibility of a September hike, boosting the dollar's value. Markets are now focused on the U.S. employment report for August, which is scheduled to be released later this week. "Investors continue to focus on Friday's U.S. nonfarm payroll data for guidance on the timing of the next Fed rate increase," Scotiabank analysts wrote in a client note. A decline in oil prices also weighed on the currencies of crude exporters, such as the Mexican and Colombian pesos. Stock markets were mixed in thin trading, with activity in Brazilian markets especially subdued as traders monitored the Senate impeachment trial of suspended President Dilma Rousseff. The 81 senators will make final statements on Tuesday and vote for a verdict on Wednesday morning, said Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who is presiding over the trial. Brazil's benchmark Bovespa stock index dipped 0.1 percent. Education company Estácio Participações SA was the biggest loser, with its shares falling after its chief executive officer quit, citing personal and family issues. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 2200 GMT: Stock indexes Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 898.95 0.33 13.19 MSCI LatAm 2,413.41 -0.71 31.89 Brazil Bovespa 58,575.42 -0.06 35.12 Mexico IPC 47,650.57 0.11 10.87 Chile IPSA 4,140.72 -0.35 12.51 Chile IGPA 20,536.98 -0.26 13.14 Argentina MerVal 15,872.08 -1.00 35.95 Colombia IGBC 10,126.52 0.29 18.48 Venezuela IBC 11,997.94 0.68 -17.76 Currencies Latest Daily YTD pct pct change change Brazil real 3.2402 -0.24 21.81 Mexico peso 18.825 -1.07 -8.47 Chile peso 674.8 -0.49 5.17 Colombia peso 2,941.9 -0.73 7.73 Peru sol 3.377 0.00 1.10 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.01 0.50 -13.51 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.44 0.13 -7.58 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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