EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks, currencies up as Fed remains in focus
By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Latin American stocks and currencies rose on Tuesday as traders assessed the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate hike following mixed signals from Federal Reserve officials and inflation figures. In cautious comments last week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank might have to run a "high-pressure economy" to allow the country to heal from the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Her remarks fanned speculation that the Fed could permit inflation to rise above its 2 percent target by keeping rates low for longer. U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September, the biggest gain in five months but in line with expectations in a Reuters analyst poll. After the release of the inflation figures, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said the central bank is "very close" to its employment and price target. Both the Mexican peso and the Brazilian real strengthened about 1 percent. The real also benefited from expectations of inflows stemming from a bill granting amnesty to Brazilians that pay taxes and fines over undeclared assets held abroad. Brazil's Bovespa stock index advanced 1 percent, supported by shares of state-controlled oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA despite lower crude prices. Petrobras, as the company is known, agreed to sell its mothballed Okinawa refinery and related assets to Japan's Taiyo Oil Co for $129.3 million. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1555 GMT: Stock indexes daily % YTD % change change Latest MSCI Emerging Markets 909.96 1.7 12.66 MSCI LatAm 2561.61 1.74 37.6 Brazil Bovespa 63351.90 1.05 46.14 Mexico IPC 48064.80 0.86 11.84 Chile IPSA 4176.29 0.59 13.48 Chile IGPA 20903.30 0.51 15.16 Argentina MerVal 17750.05 0.48 52.03 Colombia IGBC 9973.07 0.26 16.68 Venezuela IBC 13537.24 -0.24 -7.20 Currencies daily % YTD % change change Latest Brazil real 3.1780 0.91 24.20 Mexico peso 18.6700 1.10 -7.71 Chile peso 668.2 0.27 6.21 Colombia peso 2906.02 0.45 9.06 Peru sol 3.385 0.32 0.86 Argentina peso (interbank) 15.1875 0.08 -14.52 Argentina peso (parallel) 15.59 0.51 -8.47 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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