EMERGING MARKETS-Latam stocks up after Yellen; Kazakhstan devalues tenge

martes 11 de febrero de 2014 16:34 GYT
 

(Updates prices, adds analyst quotes, Argentina, Chile, Mexico)
    By Asher Levine and Natsuko Waki
    RIO DE JANEIRO/LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Latin American
stocks followed U.S. markets higher on Tuesday after U.S.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reassured investors that
current monetary policy would remain in place.
     Elsewhere, the Kazakh currency, the tenge, lost
almost a fifth of its value after the central bank devalued it,
while the South African rand jumped following
better-than-expected manufacturing and employment data.
    In her first public comments as Fed chief, Yellen said the
central bank would "likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in
further measured steps at future meetings" if economic data
broadly supports policymakers' expectation of improved labor
markets and a rise in inflation. 
    Yellen's statements calmed lingering uncertainty over a
potential change in the Fed's attitude toward the stimulus
program under its new chief, while assuring investors that
policy would remain flexible should the economy falter.
    Latin American stocks jumped 1.85 percent in
late afternoon trading, with Brazil's benchmark Bovespa index
 up 1.58 percent, led mostly by commodities exporters.  
    "Rising stocks and emerging market currencies today show
that bad economic news, or not-great news, will help lead to the
injection of resources in the U.S. and global markets via
treasuries," wrote Andre Perfeito, chief economist at Gradual
Investimentos in Sao Paulo, citing Yellen's statements.
    Mexico's benchmark IPC stock index had its biggest
jump in more than a month, driven by a nearly 3 percent gain in
heavily weighted telecommunications firm America Movil
, controlled by tycoon Carlos Slim. The company was
expected to release fourth-quarter results after the market
close.
    Chile's IPSA stock index had its biggest rise in
more than four months, while the peso strengthened 0.23
percent.
    "We had data that showed that the AFPs (Chile's private
pension funds) are starting to buy in the local market. That
gives the market a positive sign," said Alfredo Parra, analyst
at Santiago-based brokerage EuroAmerica.
    The AFPs are Chile's largest institutional investors,
managing some $156.8 billion in assets at the end of January.
    Mexico's peso and Brazil's real also
strengthened about 0.3 percent each.
    Argentina's peso weakened, however, after a six-day
rally driven by a central bank rule change last week limiting
the net foreign currency position of the nation's banks.
    "Our best estimate is that more than half of the adjustment
has already happened," wrote Citigroup's Dirk Willer and Kenneth
Lam on Tuesday. "We therefore don't see the rally of the last
days (continuing) much longer."
    Argentina will file a petition seeking U.S. Supreme Court
review of a lower court order requiring it to pay $1.33 billion
to "holdout" bondholders, state news agency Telam said late
Monday. 
    Kazakhstan is one of several ex-Soviet Union countries that
have been under pressure to contain a spillover from a sharp
fall in the currency of Russia, their main trading partner. The
rouble, which was little changed against the dollar on
Tuesday, has weakened 5.3 percent this year because of concerns
over the country's slowing economic growth and high inflation.
    Kazakhstan's tenge traded at 184 per dollar after the
central bank said it would devalue the currency by 19 percent
because of a decline in other emerging market currencies and to
combat large-scale market speculation.
    The devaluation lifted Kazakh stocks, with the local market
 rallying 12 percent.
    "While this looks very much a local story, in an attempt to
regain competitiveness against the (rouble) in a local customs
union, it does follow a global theme...which is the deflation of
over-valued commodity currencies as the Fed lifts its foot off
the monetary accelerator," wrote ING analysts led by Chris
Turner on Tuesday.
     In Ukraine, where anti-government protests are weighing on
the economy, the government imposed new capital controls to
support the hryvnia last week. But in the week before that the
central bank had allowed the currency to depreciate.
    The hryvnia was down 2.3 percent on the day at 8.61 per
dollar, having fallen as low as 8.87 last week, levels
not seen since September 2009. Banks said capital controls were
likely to cripple trade and lead to a currency black market.
    
    For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2014, see link.reuters.com/jus35t
    For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2014, see link.reuters.com/weh36s
    For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging Europe performance 2014, see link.reuters.com/jun28s
    For GRAPHIC on MSCI frontier index performance 2014, see link.reuters.com/zyh97s
    For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see 
    For TURKISH market report, see 
    For RUSSIAN market report, see )

 (Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Anthony Esposito;
Editing by John Stonestreet, Dan Grebler and Peter Galloway)