EMERGING MARKETS-Latam markets stable as Fed awaited; Argentina bonds slide
SAO PAULO, June 18 (Reuters) - Latin American currencies strengthened slightly on Wednesday while stocks were near flat, as investors remained in a holding pattern ahead of a key U.S. Federal Reserve policy statement due later in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Argentina debt prices continued to fall as investors reacted to the country's proposal to place its restructured debt under local law. While little change is expected in the Fed's outlook for interest rates, investors are on the lookout for new details on the planned exit from its current easy monetary policy. "We don't have any big news and the market is waiting for the Fed. The (dollar's) gains (Tuesday) were exaggerated because of the low trading volume caused by the Brazil (World Cup) game and now it is retreating a bit," said Joao Medeiros, head of currency trading at Sao Paulo brokerage Pioneer. Stock markets were calmer in the region, with most indexes unchanged to slightly higher. The MSCI Latin American stock index snapped a four-session losing streak, though its gains were slight. While Argentine stocks were little changed, its bonds fell after Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said on Tuesday that the country is taking steps to swap bonds governed by U.S. law for those governed by Argentine law so they would not be subject to U.S. courts that have made paying existing bondholders more difficult. The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court left intact lower court rulings ordering the country to pay holdout creditors that declined to accept the government's settlement after a 2001 default. "In our view, the likelihood of another stage of negotiations with holdouts ... has declined, while the risk of a technical default has increased," Federico Rey Marino, an analyst at Raymond James, wrote in a client note late on Tuesday. Argentina's dollar-denominated 2017 Global bond fell about a point to bid 81.42 with the yield rising to 17.03 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data. Its dollar-denominated discount bonds due in 2033 fell 1.6 points in price to 71.86 cents, boosting the yield to 12.57 percent. Lawyers for Argentina and for hedge funds that did not take part in its debt restructuring are scheduled to appear in federal court in New York on Wednesday in what could be a last-ditch attempt by the country to avoid default. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1639 GMT: Stock indexes Daily YTD pct Latest pct change change MSCI Emerging Markets 1,042.52 -0.1 4.07 MSCI LatAm 3,355.93 0.24 4.6 Brazil Bovespa 54,377.04 0.14 5.57 Mexico IPC 42,619.41 0.02 -0.25 Chile IPSA 3,832.2 0.12 3.60 Chile IGPA 18,736.69 0.05 2.80 Argentina MerVal 7,485.99 -0.28 38.86 Colombia IGBC 14,190.31 -0.31 8.56 Peru IGRA 16,383.5 0.36 4.00 Venezuela IBC 2,157.37 N/A -21.17 Currencies Daily YTD pct pct change Latest change Brazil real 2.2518 0.16 4.66 Mexico peso 13.0636 0.43 -0.26 Chile peso 558.5 0.21 -5.80 Colombia peso 1,893.29 0.46 2.04 Peru sol 2.801 0.07 -0.29 Argentina peso (interbank) 8.1275 0.03 -20.12 Argentina peso (parallel) 12.3 -0.41 -18.70 (Reporting by Asher Levine and Bruno Federowski, editing by G Crosse)
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